PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, and terror.
Jan. 5, 2007
Marc Blucas, Justine Waddell, Laura Jordan, Bill Moseley, Max Ryan
BASED ON NOVEL BY:
20th Century Fox Distribution (FoxFaith)
Learn more about FoxFaith
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By Elliott Ryan
Christians sometimes find it difficult to deal with their remorse over past sins. As some believers think back over their checkered past, they have a hard time reconciling their former behavior with their new lives, even with the knowledge that God completely forgives sinners who repent and turn to Him.
Of course, that is made all the more difficult when a crazed serial killer is stalking you and attempting to force you to confess all your past sins. At least, that is what I gathered from watching FoxFaith’s new film, Thr3e, which is based on the popular novel by Christian author Ted Dekker.
FoxFaith is a division of Twentieth Century Fox that was created with the goal of producing faith-based entertainment aimed at the Christian market. Hollywood, apparently, began to notice this market as a viable audience after the success of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.
FoxFaith’s first theatrical feature, Love’s Abiding Joy, premiered in October 2006 with little fanfare. This latest film has been supported by a wealth of newspaper and television ads attempting to appeal to fans of secular suspense thrillers and is being heavily promoted in Christian bookstores and on Christian radio stations.
In the film, Kevin Parson (played by Marc Blucas of TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) is a seminary student working feverishly to complete his thesis on the nature of evil. He soon experiences evil firsthand as he is stalked by a murderer that the police have nicknamed the Riddle Killer, “RK” for short. Like many evil movie villains before him, he seems to take pleasure in messing with his victims’ minds. The killer calls Parsons repeatedly demanding that he confess his sins. It is obvious that RK is someone who has a history with Parson because he keeps speaking in riddles about the seminary student’s past misdeeds.
Helping Parson is a police psychologist named Jennifer Peters. She also has experience with the Riddle Killer. After writing a book about sociopathic killers that offended the crazed murderer, RK killed someone very close to her. Also joining the fray is Parson’s childhood girlfriend named Samantha who seems to have some connection to the Riddle Killer herself.
Because the movie is based on a popular Christian novel, it would be the desire of any Christian reviewer to be able to offer glowing reviews of this film. I doubt you will find many out there.
For one thing, this movie is supposed to be a serious thriller. A few scenes were so poorly written and/or acted that I couldn’t help but laugh out loud as I watched, even though what was happening was not intended to be funny. I haven’t read the novel this film was based on. Perhaps it is really good. But it has not translated well to the big screen. One side character in the film is so badly written and bizarrely acted that it felt like she was in a completely different (and much worse) movie than every other character. If you see the movie, you’ll know exactly the character to which I am referring.
The movie does contain a spiritual message, though it is subtle, about how to overcome the evil within each of us with God’s help. However, except for a couple references to Scripture, the movie plays like a typical low-budget Hollywood thriller. There is no cursing or sexual immorality, but there are several explosions and violent situations that contribute to the film’s PG-13 rating. It is not overly gory but still probably too intense for young children.
It is an admirable goal to provide family entertainment for Christians. There is a school of thought that says we should support this film just because it is a Christian film. But there is another school of thought that says if studios expect their films to draw an audience, Christian or otherwise, they should make movies of a higher quality than the cheaply produced straight-to-DVD Christian films we’ve seen for years.
Unfortunately for the producers of Thr3e, most moviegoers -- Christians or not -- will want more for their money than this average flick offers.
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