‘An eye for an eye… A tooth for a tooth… A foot for a foot…’
3 – aka 3: An Eye for An Eye – is a 2017 American rape revenge horror thriller film written, co-produced and directed by Lou Simon (All Girls Weekend; HazMat; The Awakened; Agoraphobia). The movie stars Todd Bruno, Mike Stanley and Aniela McGuinness.
A man and a woman kidnap the latter’s rapist in order to extract a confession, but how far will they be willing to go for justice?
Released by Uncork’d Entertainment on VOD on August 7, 2018.
Lou Simon’s 3 is a heady take on perception, the search for truth, how elusive that truth can be, and the extremes people are willing to go to in order to find the truth they want, regardless of which side they are on. Simon cleverly couches this theme within a background frame of the Iraq war, and she astutely links the coercive tactics used in order to extract confessions from enemy combatants there with the fog of self-deception that comes from absolute certitude in one’s own unexamined beliefs.
3 is a smart, sagacious study of discernment and speciousness — a worthwhile viewing for anyone who is cocksure about their perfunctory convictions — which is sporadically hampered by a low budget and the occasional dodgy line delivery. Get past these, though, and you’ll find a definite must-see for those who feel a little thoughtful questioning with their visceral horror ratchets up the tension and makes the experience that much more believable and terrifying.
Where do monsters come from? Watch this movie and find out.
Ben Spurling, MOVIES and MANIA
” …manages to take a different turn somewhere along the way, a turn that takes things onto an unexpected downward spiral that still makes sense thanks to clever writing and a believable and relateable cast. And as a director, Lou Simon really knows when to shock, when to create suspense, and when to go visceral to keep the audience on the edge of their seats pretty much throughout.” Search My Trash
Interview with writer-director Lou Simon
What inspires you as a filmmaker?
Being able to play with an audience’s emotions – from setting up expectations about what is going to happen, to twisting the story in another direction, to have them feel all the emotions of a scene (especially if that emotion is fear).
Where did the idea of 3 come from?
It started with a simple picture posted by Aniela McGuinness, who plays the role of She. Aniela had a double mastectomy after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She proudly posted pictures of her scars on social media. It made me squirm, because I can’t imagine how hard it would be to lose the one thing that makes us most obviously women. As if cancer wasn’t dark enough, it reminded me of a rape/murder story where the woman’s nipples had been cut out. The rest of the story came to me in spurts over months.
Photo by Enrique Tubio
Why is telling this story so important to you?
Rape is a cancer in our society and the statistics are daunting. Nearly 1 in 5 women have been raped and as many as 321,500 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States. And 1 out of every 10 rape victims is male. The emotional scars sexual assault leaves on its victims stay with them for a lifetime. There’s been a rise in cases where rapists have received a slap in the hand for committing rape, while the victims have been vilified for being “too sexual.” There had been laws put in place to protect rape victims from that type of persecution, but somehow, we seem to be taking steps back in the progress that had been made.
What was the most challenging part of making this film?
As always, the biggest challenge was the size of the budget and the limited days of filming. To make a feature film in a couple of weeks is so hard. This script, in particular, had a lot of dialogue for the actors to memorize. I was also afraid that for 3 actors in one location, it would be slow and uninteresting. Hopefully, there are enough turns in the story to keep the audience engaged throughout.
What was the most unique situation you faced during production?
We were filming in an unfinished basement that looked a lot like a cave. One of the nights, it rained for hours out of nowhere. It hadn’t been forecasted at all. The next morning, the basement was flooded, along with a lot of our equipment. The rain had also caused the outlets to trip the breakers, and the entire house lost power. We lost half a day, bailing water out of the basement.
There was also the issue of the unfinished floor in the sunroom. When we went to look at the house during pre-production, the floor had been removed, but we were assured that it would be done the next week. Almost two months later, we arrive and the floor was still unfinished. We had to put a layer of plywood and then put furniture over that. The floor was like a trampoline when you stepped on it, and where the plywood finished, there was a direct drop to the basement beneath the house – about 8 feet below. I held my breath for 2 days of filming that no one would fall through.
Talk about your method and/or any extraordinary or unusual aspects about your creative process.
What seems to shock people the most is my ability to write scripts in a very short time. I can usually write a script in about four days. 3 was probably the most unique experience yet in that I had not even written the script when we started pre-production. In fact, I didn’t write the script until about a month and a half before principal photography. It was all in my head, but I hadn’t sat down to write it yet. When I finally sat down to write it, in the back of my head I kept thinking “how about if I get writer’s block for the first time and now I have this film completely set up?” Thankfully, I wrote it in 3 days, so it all worked out.
“3 relies on the performance of three outstanding characters. Why did you cast these three actors in particular?
I had worked with Todd Bruno in my film, HazMat, and we always talked about working together again. In fact, he helped me produce 3. Aniela McGuinness had been in two of my previous films, and I had written the role of Annie in All Girls Weekend specifically for her, but then came her cancer diagnosis and she had to vow out of the project. I told her that I would write a new role for her one day once she was better, and I’m glad that it happened sooner than even we expected. She’s cancer free now, so this was a good way for her to come back to acting. Mike Stanley was actually the only person I hadn’t worked with before, but it turned out that he fit in perfectly with the rest of the cast and crew. Most of us have worked together before so we’re like a family. We quickly adopted Mike, and for better or for worse, now he’s one of us.
You are a very prolific director with five features in five years under your belt. What is your recipe for productivity?
Every time I say that I’m going to take time off, my mind wanders off into another story and I start all over again. Creativity feeds our soul, so I’m sure that most filmmakers would do the same if they had the financial resources to do it. I was very lucky to be in a position in life where I could get investors for my first film. When HazMat did well, I have been able to use that to get them to continue investing in future projects. I have a very good relationship with my investors, because they know how hard I’ll work for them and how I take my job very seriously. For me, this is a business, and I make decisions on what is best for the investors, not for my ego.
What’s next for you?
“3 will start the film festival circuit this year, and then we’ll starting international sales at AFM in November.
I am developing both a sci-fi script that my company will be filming at the end of the year, and I’m co-producing an action script with another company that will probably be in production next year. Both have a lot of suspense, so although I’m taking a break from horror, they’ll still share some elements with my previous films. I’m not stepping away from horror, just want to challenge myself to try other genres as well.
What are you still looking for?
I’m always looking for investors. All indie filmmakers should always be pitching. My main goal with 3 now is to take it to as many film festivals as possible. We got distribution so early on for the last two films that I didn’t submit to many festivals. This time, I’m going to take my time and enjoy it. There’s nothing more rewarding than to watch the film with an audience, and you only get that experience at film festivals.