NEW YORK -- A psycho-killer movie featuring less gore and more moral and religious philosophizing pretty much sums up "Three," adapted from the best-selling novel by Ted Dekker. This family-friendly thriller -- with a villain bearing somewhat of a resemblance to Jigsaw in the "Saw" series with his penchant for putting his victims through mind games and riddles before committing his mayhem -- is being marketed by Fox Faith, 20th Century Fox's Christian-themed label, but it seems unlikely that it will attract many of the faithful.
The film's hero is Kevin Parson (Marc Blucas), a young seminary student who seems to have an unknown connection to Slater (Bill Moseley), otherwise known as RK, or the "riddle killer." Kevin's first encounter with him is literally explosive, as he answers a cell phone that has been placed in his car only to hear a distorted voice telling him that unless he can solve a riddle in three minutes he will be blown up. Failing to pass the test, he manages to escape just in time.
Thus begins the inevitable cat-and-mouse game, with Kevin forced to undergo a series of such tests and the price for failure being more death and destruction. Helping him wade through the mystery, which apparently involves his upbringing by an abusive aunt (Priscilla Barnes), are a criminal psychologist (Justine Waddell) with a tragic personal connection with the killer, as well as Kevin's former childhood sweetheart (Laura Jordan).
The fairly routine plot is made somewhat more interesting by the infusion of issues regarding morality and faith, but ultimately "Three," for all its philosophizing, is little more than a standard serial-killer movie with pretensions.