Firstly, I just want to say thank you to White Lotus Productions and the team at Chicart Public Relations for sending me an online screener of Lou Simon’s latest feature film titled, “3”. Lou has been all over the indie horror scene ever since the release of her film “HazMat” back in 2013 *see review* https://adamthemoviegod.com/hazmat-review/. She’s since directed two more feature lengths, “Agoraphobia” with Cassie Scerbo and Tony Todd and more recently, “All Girls Weekend” which was made up of an all female cast. While I wasn’t a fan of the latter, I thoroughly enjoyed HazMat and have been keen to see this latest project of hers. 3 is a confined and revenge fueled, suspense/thriller that centers on a man and a woman (played by Todd Bruno and Aniela McGuinness) who kidnap her rapist (Mike Stanley) with the hopes of eliciting a confession from him. The film also stars Katie Carpenter (Maid To Order) and Jim Adams.
A forewarning, this review will likely be a bit shorter than usual, as 3 can be described as one of those films that’s difficult to canvass without ruining the desired element of surprise, something I don’t want to do, especially considering this is a thriller. Make no mistake though, it’s not a reflection of the quality of Simon’s latest venture. From a technical standpoint most of Lou’s work has been well presented and 3 is no exception. The audio track appears to be all natural and consistently clear, which comes as a surprise because the basement in which three-quarters of the film is set in, must have created some headaches for the crew (reverberation wise). The cinematography isn’t overly dynamic but it’s smart. A lot of simple shot choices and setups make for speed and efficiency, two of the most important things on a self-funded independent film. Michael Damon (whose scored all of Simon’s previous films) composed a nice synth piece for the opening of the film, and the remainder of the score is made up of keys and bass but it persuasively builds the required tension.
When you think of films contained entirely within one or two locations or sets (some of which are my favourite films), they’re actually few and far between, mostly because they pose quite a challenge. How do you keep people interested or engaged? My experience tells me if you’re film isn’t built on aesthetic appeal it usually rests on good dialogue and talented actors. 3’s running time is only 80 minutes, but there’s a fair amount going on in this controlled little scenario. Simon sets up an early reveal in the opening act, something that’s often a key to drawing audiences in. Each of the three leads deliver really consistent performances, by far the best I’ve seen in any of Lou’s films thus far. McGuinness highlights her characters trepidation of the situation the two-some have decided to act on. As for Bruno, he’s forced to raise his game emotionally speaking because of the weight being carried on his characters shoulders. Then there’s Mike Stanley, who has to combine believable dialogue delivery with the physical performance of his character, clearly the most challenging of the three roles and he does it very well. 3 is also surprisingly violent for a film that forms through dialogue and not action. There’s a great scene involving a foot and the corresponding effects are more than serviceable. Lou’s script is likely to catch a few people off guard when it heads in quite an unexpected direction, that said, there are some clues along the way, but nothing that sets things in stone.
I noticed one or two minor issues with the sound, most notably the bass. It seemed quite loud in the mix, though that may have just been due to my set of particular computer speakers. The lighting was a little dark during the first character interaction in the kitchen too. Continuity wise the film is pretty spot on. There aren’t any real obvious lapses (at least none that I could find), although at one point Stanley’s character says to Bruno’s that he heard him talking to a woman. Those of you’ve who’ve seen the film will understand why that doesn’t necessarily compute. I continue to gone back and forth on my opinion of the climax and its eventual conclusion, I’m still not sure how I feel about it. Perhaps a flashback or two may have given more of an inclination as to something going awry later.
3 is anything but a straight up suspense/thriller or revenge flick, it’s cleverly written and manages to weave its intended web of deception. The audio, camera work and score are all well executed and the pacing ensures that the film doesn’t lose too much steam. Lou sets the scene early with immediate introductions, followed by an important reveal. There’s a few nice clues scattered throughout about the potential deeper source, that and our central trio of actors turn in really solid performances. The violence is rather brief but the intensity is evident and the practical effects look good. There’s a couple of slight technical inconsistencies and one continuity blip, I’m also still undecided on whether I like the big finish or not. If I’m honest, it’s hard to deny the comparison to a film like David Slade’s expertly crafted, “Hard Candy” or even the lesser known indie film, “The Tortured” but I’m not overly concerned, because I can respect that 3 tries on something a little different in its final act. My two cents. I think Simon’s, HazMat has more of a fun rewatchability factor, but 3 is certainly her best and most professional film. Fans of contained thrillers (like the aforementioned) best check this out when it becomes available. Check out the trailer below!
My rating for “3” is 7.5/10