Director – Robby Henson, Screenplay – Alan McElroy, Based on the Novel by Ted Dekker, Producers – Joe Goodman, Bobby Neutz & Ralph Winter, Photography – Sebastian Milaszewski, Music – David Bergeaud, Visual Effects – Lightcraft (Supervisor – Daniel Markowicz), Special Effects – Flashart, Production Design – Wojciech Zogala. Production Company – Namesake Entertainment/Total Living Network/Movieroom Productions.
Marc Blucas (Kevin Parson), Justine Waddell (Jennifer Peters), Laura Jordan (Samantha Sheer), Max Ryan (Captain Milton), Pricilla Barnes (Balinda Parson), Bill Moseley (Slater), Tom Bower (Eugene Parson), Jeffrey Lee Hollis (Bobby Parson), Bruno Jasienski (Young Kevin), Alanna Bale (Young Samantha), Sherman Augustus (Detective Mike)
The city is plagued by the RK Killer who taunts his victims with riddles before killing them. Detective Jennifer Peters, who has written a book about RK, becomes a target of retaliation when RK blows up her brother. Next to be targeted is divinity student Kevin Parson who receives a call from RK but jumps out of his car before it blows up. RK continues to taunt Kevin, trying to get him to confront the great sin from his past. Jennifer tries to protect Kevin, which means delving into his past in search of the sin to which the killer keeps referring.
Amid this, there was Fox Faith, a subdivision of 20th Century Fox that was briefly formed to cater to this market. Fox Faith put out eleven films between 2006 and 2009. Thr3e was one of these films. It is based on a 2003 novel by Ted Dekker, a horror and fantasy novelist who writes specifically for the Christian audience. The film comes from director Robby Henson who previously made The Visitation (2006) and subsequently went onto make House (2006), which as also based on a Ted Dekker novel.
It feels with Thr3e that Ted Dekker was trying to copy the basics of Se7en (1995), something that is surely evident in the copycat substitution of a number for one of the letters in the title. Beyond that, there is a very similar plot – a Serial Killer Thriller where a genius killer weaves a series of taunting clues with the protagonists, seeking to expose sin. The only real difference here is the substitution of Marc Blucas’s fairly anonymous divinity student for Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman’s detectives and a very different type of twist ending.
For all that Thr3e has been sold as a Christian film, you would never guess it was if you didn’t know otherwise. If there was not the Ted Dekker name attached, this could just go out as a regular serial killer thriller of no particular distinction. There is talk about Marc Blucas’s sin and the need to expose it but in actuality Se7en with its winding in of the Seven Deadly Sins as a central motif, actually had more than could be said to be Biblically-derived than Thr3e does.
Everything about Thr3e is routine. There is the same sort of Police Procedural plot that serial killer thrillers like Se7en adopts – one that involves tapping into Marc Blucas’s past to expose secrets. The script never does much to create any twists and pull the carpet out before it arrives as a big M. Night Shyamalan-modelled Conceptual Reversal Twist. [PLOT SPOILERS]. Here we learn that the serial killer (or at least the copycat that happens to be targeting Marc Blucas) is a figure in Blucas’s imagination. It is a twist that has some mild surprise effect. Even if it is one that leaves you wondering why on Earth Justine Waddell’s detective continued to play out what was clearly his fantasy instead of raising her red flags when it became apparent that he was manifesting imaginary characters. It all comes down to the bizarrely contorted idea of movie psychology.