When I first read the premise for the movie 3: An Eye For An Eye I immediately started making some guesses regarding the tone and direction that it would take. It struck me as a somewhat novel premise, where a man and a woman are to kidnap someone they believe raped the woman (of this couple) following a party some time prior to this movie. What made this doubly amusing is that I immediately began to suggest as to who is really behind this mysterious violent act. Then there were the expectations as to how a movie that spotlights torture as a means of confession were also filling my mind. Still, I was prepared to give this movie a fair shake. After all this is from an independent filmmaker and such horror movies tend to get a better reaction than the big studio releases. So as I sat down to watch this movie with what some pretty low expectations, and that’s when the joy of this movie started. Unfortunately I can’t tell you very much about the plot because I fear that to much would be to cross over into spoiler territory, and while I have already planned on watching this feature length film again, I must keep many details close to my chest should any of you wish to see this movie.
Right from the get-go this film gives the feeling of being a low budget effort. The production values are modest to say the least and the cast is extremely small, but if you were to start counting any of the negative elements that are part of this film you would then be stopping right there, because from pretty early on in the story this movie takes you on what can only be described as one of the most horrifying filled thrill rides imaginable. It is also one of the most intelligent as well as economical films ever. Movies are generally either character driven or plot driven, so you will usually be in for a big treat if you come across a movie where there is a perfect balance. This movie goes further. Writer/Producer/Director Lou Simon has taken that manner of storytelling and not just elevated it, but evolved this technique by having the characters form the plot, as well as having the plot form the characters. There isn’t just perfect balance between characters and plot that drive the film. Simon has given us something that can only be described as symbiotic. It is no wonder that anyone who watches this cannot help but become emotionally invested in the film.
Much of that investment comes from this small, but unbelievably superb cast. We start off with the movie’s “victim,” simply credited as “It,” played by Mike Stanley. For a movie to keep its viewers guessing throughout the entire story would require an actor of Stanley’s capabilities. Gruff, but vulnerable. Angry, and then sad. With “It” I found myself continually guessing from one minute to the next if he really is the man that our young couple claim him to be. And speaking of the young couple, we have Todd Bruno as “He” and Aniela McGuinness as “She.” Theirs is a very unusual relationship, which in turn helps to feed the continuing guessing game, and that is much of the fun that can be found in 3. Throughout their torturous drama I bounced between each one of them as being the real culprit, to at times thinking that none of them were and that the real horror was in passing judgment on the wrong individual, and even while that is going on there were moments of torture, all for the sake of a confession for the crime of rape, that calls in to question the validity and necessity of such a savage practice. Simon doesn’t allow the movie to dwell on that subject, but she does address it just long enough, and in just the right doses, that it never strays far from the front of the conscious mind. Bruno, as “He,” shows incredible protectiveness towards “She,” but I found myself doubting his authenticity simply from a feeling that he may be hiding something. Most actors wouldn’t be able to straddle such a delicate line, but Bruno plays it with the most amazing subtlety that kept me guessing right up to the very last minute as to the true intentions of “He.” Meanwhile McGuinness as “She,” gives us the face of someone who is a victim of a terribly violent act, along with all of the psychological scars that come with that. To play a part of someone who is horribly damaged, but not make it maudlin, is yet another amazing acting challenge that McGuinness pulls off quite nicely. Again, the dynamic between these two gifted actors only added to numerous twists and surprises that this film delivers. Lastly, there is Lou Simon. She has proven what we here at TG2 Studios have been saying all along about independent creators, and in this case, independent horror. It’s easy for a big studio to lob buckets of money all because big studio executives and directors think that jump scares are all that you need in order to scare people. Simon has shown that a director and/or writer doesn’t need a big budget to tell a truly horrifying story. In fact, the best horror that I have ever had the pleasure of watching didn’t require a big budget to scare. All that was needed was a smart story and a capable cast. 3: An Eye For An Eye is all of that and more. This is a movie that is topical and terrifying. That is quite an achievement for a writer, and then as a director Simon nurtures some amazingly nuanced performances out of her brilliant cast.
Even as I was watching 3: An Eye For An Eye I found myself at times commenting at how much I was enjoying the film, but after all of the twists are finally played out and the ending credits are rolling, all I could say was how much I truly loved this film!
3 gets 5 out of 5 saw blades!!!
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