I always say that horror is probably the most all-encompassing genre of film in the industry. There are so many different flavors and levels of terror that you could literally watch a different subgenre every day of the month and still have time to find something new. Aliens. Slashers. Ghosts. Zombies. Torture Porn. Usually the villain is something otherworldly or a giant maniac with a savage appetite for blood, but you know what’s often the scariest villain of all? Reality. The fact that very real, very evil people exist in our world and sometimes their horrible truths bleed into our daily lives and ruin them. That can be seen, in its most honest form, in writer/director Lou Simon’s 3. Recently announced as the opening night feature presentation at The New York City Horror Film Festival on October 26, 3 is a psychological horror film and a mash-up of Cry_Wolf, Wild Things and I Spit On Your Grave. It’s an eerie, gloomy, dramatic piece on rape and the depths that survivors will go to to seek justice.
Based on the screenplay by writer, director and producer Lou Simon, 3 follows a man and a woman who set a very obvious trap so they can kidnap the woman’s rapist and force him to confess to his crime on camera. The rapist wakes up to find himself locked up in the basement of their remote home, and despite their best – most torturous efforts – he refuses to admit what he’s done and asserts his innocence. They’re forced to turn up their volume of violence in hopes of getting what they need on tape. With time running out and the fear that they’ll be discovered mounting at a fast pace, the duo wonder how far they’ll go for justice and what will be left of them afterward? Todd Bruno, Mike Stanley, Aniela McGuinness, Katie Carpenter and Jim Adams star in a feature from producer Todd Bruno that’ll make you question right and wrong. Cinematography was handled by Bill Schweikert with producer Alan Hanna on editing.
At first, despite my earlier sentiments, I wasn’t sure if I considered 3 to be a true horror film more than a dark, psychological drama. However, two things definitely help me place this one in the horror category. First of all, the suspense is sky high and the mystery building blocks topple and fall and pull at heart your heart strings every five minutes. Then, the violence used in 3 is very equatable to the Hostel franchise and I know we can all cheer for a good torture flick. It’s almost… grindhouse in nature. And it’s so weird to see the two styles existing cohesively in an independent movie like this, but it just worked for me on a really fascinating level. Coupled with creepy music and a looming, grey filter, 3 is a cinematic experience not for the faint of heart. There’s a lot of “trigger” content to sit through before you get to the good spots of gore and the plot twists. The latter entails a near escape and false flags on BOTH sides of the situation. Pulse raising, to say the least.
Lou Simon’s 3 is timely, also to say the least. With our political climate in 2017, violence against women, sexual violence against women, and the evil we do to each other overall needs to be examined in a new way. I’m not saying that 3 is a movie with a political agenda, because it’s not, but the themes that it explores are current and relate-able. Unfortunately, all of us know someone who’s been attacked or found themselves at the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s probably what makes 3 a living nightmare the most. It doesn’t focus solely on rape against women. It covers a lot of similar topics, which I can’t share in this review for fear of providing spoilers. I’ll just say that within one feature film, Lou Simon managed to pen a compelling and frightful story that represents all sides of the victim spectrum and every shade of the rape-revenge genre. It’s difficult to watch at times, but it’s certainly a worthwhile experience.
Final Score: 7 out of 10.