It bothers me, and it should bother you too, that out of all the movies that could have been made with a couple million dollars, "Thr3e" was chosen. This alleged psychological thriller, adapted from a novel by Ted Dekker, is so derivative as to be pointless.
Marc Blucas as seminary student Kevin Parsons in "Thr3e." (Fox)
The pitch: A seminary student, being targeted by a crazed killer, teams up with a cop whose brother was murdered by the same psychopath. Press notes tell us all is not what it seems.
"Thr3e" was directed by Robby Henson (director of last year's "The Visitation" from the Frank Peretti novel), adapted by Alan B. McElroy (who had a hand in adapting Left Behind for film), and produced by Ralph Winter, who has a long and distinguished Hollywood record of producing not only big-budget action films like "X-Men," but also the provincial Christian fare like this film.
"Thr3e" is, in fact, another FoxFaith movie. FoxFaith is the division of Twentieth Century Fox working to provide "compelling entertainment to the Christian audience as well as those seeking quality, inspirational and spiritual entertainment." FoxFaith delivers some movies straight to home video, but it's also releasing some theatrically. October's "One Night With the King" was a theatrical release, as is this one, which opens nationwide today on 500 screens. It's being promoted by Christian retailers like Family Christian Stores, Lifeway Stores, Berean Christian Stores and others.
Shot in Poland on a low budget, it strains credulity to think this is the best thing Christians can come up with to show to fellow Christians. Therein lies this movie's greatest sin.
Ignore, for a moment, the fact that the movie offers no real scares and that by the time it ends you really don't care what happens. Ignore the poor characterizations and a-rhythmic script. Ignore the plot mishmash of "Silence of the Lambs," "Psycho," "Seven," "A Beautiful Mind" and—worst of all—"Speed" (there's even a scene where the main character rides alongside a city bus screaming "Stop the bus!").
I could accept people responding to a bomb explosion as if to a flat tire if the larger work made some sort of contribution, told a worthy story, unearthed some original narrative or moved the audience in some way. "Thr3e" does none of that.
Instead, it works to make sure we don't ever think two of the main characters—a male and female—ever sleep under the same roof. To imply that they did would surely put this one out of the FoxFaith box.
We're supposed to care about a theme of confession planted in the movie, but the characters, like the plot, have been so derived from standard Hollywood fare that we don't recognize life—just other, better movies.
"Thr3e" stacks up with "Left Behind" as a good representative of the "Christian genre" of film, which so far seems in league with B horror movie production.
Cliff Vaughn is culture editor for EthicsDaily.com.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and terror.
Director: Robby Henson
Writer: Alan B. McElroy (based on the novel by Ted Dekker)
Cast: Kevin Parson: Mark Blucas; Jennifer Peters: Justine Waddell; Samantha: Laura Jordan; Milton: Max Ryan; Slater: Bill Moseley; Detective Bill: Sherman Augustus; Belinda: Priscilla Barnes.
The movie's official Web site is here.
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