Tuesday, March 24, 2015

3 to murder – review

Director: Jeff Kirkendall

Release date: 1999

Contains spoilers

When I reviewed the Temptress I mentioned that this prequel short (which comes in at 40 minutes) was on the special edition DVD. I purposefully watched this second and there was no loss to the main feature by doing so.

The film seemed to be lower budget than the feature and, in its favour, the events – which display what happened before the immediate “present day” section of the feature – not only fit but had the same cast and even continuity for the costuming. It showed us why Ronnie (Tim Hatch) and David (James Carolus, Bloodlust (2004)) where in the house with Tina (Jennifer Lescovich) and Karen (Jennifer Birn) and the fate of the victim in there.

James Carolus as David
It begins with an alarm waking Ronnie. His special magazines have been taken by his mom (Ellen Williams) and a note left to that effect – incidentally if his mom was meant to be a comedy character, in her latter appearance, it just didn’t work for me. David is checking a haul of stolen jewellery and stabs a mirror with a knife (why, we don’t know, probably to show us he is badass and able to attack mirrors), Ronnie pops round to see him and mention is made that Ronnie is single. David suggests they go meet the three women who have just moved into a long abandoned house near Ronnie’s home. David has only seen them at night so they will go the night after, that night David is “working”.

poor lighting
Working consists of him and two friends – JoJo (Jason Palmer) and Cruze (Jeff Kirkendall, also Bloodlust) – doing a home invasion, handcuffing the woman (Mary Kay Hilko) and then killing her at the end of the robbery. We then cut to the next night, and Ronnie and David spying on and subsequently meeting the girls. The girls are sat outside as though it is day and I have to say that, although the lighting was inconsistent (a scene with Ronnie and David dramatically shifts in lighting quality depending on camera angle), there were none of the poor day for night scenes that the later film had. Karen and Tina want to go out on the town with the young men but Rachael (Eileen McCashion) blows them off.

Ronnie and Karen
Another night and Ronnie manages to get them an invite over to the house from Karen. We discover David is using the opportunity to case the house for a robbery but there is no honour amongst thieves and his criminal friends decide to case it themselves – JoJo then falling into Karen’s hands (off screen) and being the victim who then turns in the following film. Of course the girls are not all they seem and, having seen the next film, we know they are vampires. This is revealed right at the end through Karen.

Karen eats JoJo
The only additional lore we get is that the vampires do have reflections that vanish when they “vamp out”. For Tina, vamping out consists of dipping her finger in blood and then zoning out in a dreamy way. The film itself didn’t have the ambitious storyline of the next one, indeed the story was fairly hidden and I wouldn’t have been surprised to have found out that this had been filmed (or at least written) after the latter film or as part of it and subsequently edited out. The characterisation was nominal, leaving the characters two dimensional, and the dialogue delivery was amateurish. I don’t really see this one standing up in its own right, which is how I am scoring it. 2 out of 10.

At the time of writing the review there is no IMDb page.

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