Here's something interesting - a Christian thriller.  It is the first film to come from Fox Faith, 20th Century Fox's division that caters to Christian audiences.  The specialty division is a pretty smart thing given the smashing success of movies like The Passion of the Christ and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, plus smaller success (but highly profitable) films like Facing the Giants.  All films from Fox Faith are Christian-friendly. And while it's good for the bottom line by producing product to an under-represented market, and admirable for trying to do something "good," Thr3e, based on the novel by Ted Dekker doesn't work only because it is so cheesy.

At best, the abominably Thr3e (surprisingly not any sort of religious allusion) is a direct-to-video B-movie. It is wholly derivative of "twist" films like The Sixth Sense and Fight Club, but tries to up the ante by providing multiple twists with little payoff. Although you probably won't be able to see the end coming, by the time it does, it is more likely to elicit laughter than suspense. And the "suitability?" There is no language, no sort of sexual innuendo, and a protagonist in Seminary. But there is violence, which seems to be standard in films like these. And the level of religion is almost secondary. Yes, Kevin Parson (Marc Blucas, First Daughter, The Alamo) is a Christian, but never makes any mention of it. Where director Robby Henson (The Badge, Pharoah's Army) and adapter Alan B. McElroy (The Marine, Wrong Turn) fail miserably with the last line of the movie, which is completely unnecessary and not in line thematically with the rest of Thr3e.

Parson is the current prey of the "Riddle Killer," a serial killer who enjoys tormenting his victims. He wants them to confess, and communicates to them through the phone using vocal distortion. Sometimes, he dresses up in a mask and constructs elaborate death games. Like Saw. Or Saw II. Or Saw III. Yeah. Henson tells the police he has no idea why he is a target, although there is a secret in his past that the multitude of flashbacks slowly reveal. Blucas and everybody else is a victim of the script. The lines aren't great, the story is frustrating. And for whatever reason, Blucas doesn't feel like he's trying very hard. Although his resume (including a stint on Buffy: The Vampire Slayer) isn't stellar, he's done better work than he does here.

His co-stars are just as mediocre. Justine Waddell (Dracula 2000, Mansfield Park) is Jennifer Peters, a police psychologist whose brother was the last victim of the Riddle Killer. She has a personal reason to capture him, and doesn't believe that Parson is completely truthful. Laura Jordan is Samantha, Parson's childhood friend. She's helping him figure out the mystery of the Riddle Killer. The problem is that Samantha and Parson do some pretty stupid things along the way. Yes, Parson is hiding something, but most of his decisions make no sense. The same goes for the Riddle Killer. Why focus on Parson? Why spend so much time and effort to gain so little? Thr3e answers the question, but it doesn't leave a good taste in the mouths of viewers.

Gerf Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 45 minutes, Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, and terror.

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