Cult Corner: An Eye for an Eye: 3 (2018) - Reviewed

In the ocean of quick release indie horrors we see these days, some shamelessly ripping off exactly the same story, it is rare to find something that actually locks its talons over your skull and forces you to guess wrong every time - until it knocks you out with an ending that jabs like Tyson.

I have suffered eight rounds of this privilege and I am delighted to nurse the bruises Lou Simon left on my psyche with her outstanding direction and writing in 3: An Eye for an Eye. Avoiding sounding all feminist and short of burning my bra, I cannot help but applaud this film as a victory for women directors of horror. 

Cuban-born Simon is a multi-award wining writer/ producer/ director, previously responsible for gems like 2013’s HazMat (Best Horror Film at both the Massachusetts Independent Film Festival and the Berlin Independent Film Festival) and Agoraphobia (2015), starring legendary horror icon Tony Todd. Lou Simon has burned a trail of cinematic conquests with her other winners like All Girls Weekend (2016), which makes it no surprise that 3 is this intense. Once you can get past actor Mike Stanley’s striking resemblance to Vincent D’Onofrio, it is soon clear that Simon does not muck about with long, boring elaborate introductions into her characters. Off the bat, the film presents its main scenario and we are introduced to a man who helps a female friend capture her alleged rapist in order to elicit a confession from the kidnapped criminal. Sounds predictable, right? Been done before, right?

Then 3 starts jogging, forcing us to keep up with its steady pace. Its expert gradual escalation of psychological twists keeps the viewer deducing, before proving that our pat on the back for guessing correctly is deemed void once again.

Miss Simon skilfully weaves psychology and tension with a touch of torture porn. The latter is hardly gratuitous, as she only uses it to affirm certain aspects of the characters. Fresh breath. Her subtle misdirection gives the viewer just enough bread to feed the tension while inducing more doubt in unravelling the hidden truth behind the story.

Make-up effects are very well done and realistic. Every scene’s set-up and progression is completely believable. Another fresh breath, where most movies leave plot holes or possible negation, Miss Simon covers all the bases and corrals the viewer towards her carefully constructed genius catches. Well-placed score keeps the scenes punching and good dialogue serves perfectly to relay information while the characters struggle forward in fighting moral battles.

Mike Stanley, mostly involved extensively in television and theatre, is formidable in his role as captive and I am surprised he has not been featured in more prominent roles before. Equally, Aniela McGuinness (also featured in Simon’s Agoraphobia) and actor/ producer Todd Bruno (2013’s Proximity) do a good job at playing the kidnapper and the rape victim in cahoots.

The purposeful torment of 3 is gruesome, but not too graphic, for the gore-whores with a slightly weaker stomach. However, this element is by far not the center of this delicious gumbo of curve-balls, concocted by a director and writer that is clearly getting ready to bat in the big leagues – and she is no amateur.

--Tasha Danzig