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Mediocre film dilutes Thr3e

?I will give you exactly three minutes to call the newspaper and confess your sin, or I will blow that silly Sable you call a car sky-high,? a low breathy voice says over the phone. Three minutes later a bomb explodes. So begins Thr3e, a Christian thriller by Ted Dekker that investigates the limits of reality and the nature of evil.

The movie adaptation of Dekker?s 2003 novel directed by Robby Henson and released through Fox Faith Films hit theaters on Jan. 5.

Kevin Parson (Marc Blucas) is a studious seminary student with a mysterious past, but an optimistic future. That is, until he receives the threatening phone call. The explosion plunges him into a world of stalkers and uncertainties.

The voice on the phone identifies himself as Slater (Bill Moseley), who harbors an obsession with threes and plays games with Kevin through a series of riddles. As each riddle goes unsolved within the given time limit, Slater plants a bomb on an increasingly serious target.

Samantha Sheer (Laura Jordan), his childhood friend, and Jennifer Peters (Justine Waddel) a police psychologist (FBI in the book) with a history of encountering the infamous Riddle Killer, join Kevin on the search for a way out of the nightmare.

The gravity of the situation forces Kevin to confront his past. His aunt and uncle raised him after a car accident killed his parents. Aunt Ballinda (Priscilla Barnes) creates her own reality for the family; they believe only what they choose to, even if the truth is right in front of them. If something in a newspaper contradicts this reality, she burns it, and insists that it does not exist. She raised Kevin in this fashion, forcing him to stay inside and call her ?Princess? as part of her role-playing games.

At this point in his life Sam rescues Kevin when she knocks on his window and convinces him to sneak out with her. They become fast friends and continue their nighttime adventures unperturbed until Kevin finds a boy spying on Sam through her window.

With shouts of death threats, the boy chases Kevin into an old warehouse where he manages to lock the boy in a room and leave him to die. Kevin believes that Slater and the boy are one and the same.

The movie rushes on to its startling conclusion, jumping from one incident to the next. It seems to attempt to add suspense to the storyline through the insert of another life-threatening scene.

The creepiest aspect of Slater in the novel was how ?normal? he looked, he could blend in anywhere with anyone, only his mind revealed his madness. The Slater of the movie would be hard-pressed to blend in; it portrays him with long, unruly hair and a duck tape mask.

Production loses original focus

Overall, this adaptation took an excellent book and produced a mediocre movie. I was extremely impressed with the book, but the emphasis on attempted physical terror versus the focus on the psychological aspect in the book coupled with the deletion of some of my favorite scenes left me with lukewarm feelings toward the movie. While both Blucas and Barnes effectively portrayed their characters, the overall effect of the movie was unimpressive.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good puzzle. Dekker?s writing keeps the pages turning in a way that the movie could not accomplish. If a person plans on seeing the movie, I would encourage them to read the book first, as watching it would ruin the ending.

Due to little interest, Thr3e is no longer playing in Fresno theaters, the closest is Galaxy Porterville on 9631 North Indiana Street, though the movie is not really worth the drive. The book is available at any bookstore.

Although based on a Christian novel, Thr3e is rated PG-13 due to suspense and thematic elements. Parents may want to use caution when taking young children.

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