Have you ever wondered what took place in a hotel room before you arrived? Maybe you found a relic from a past guest? What if you could peak into the past, and found something sinister? Rule of Three is an indie thriller that gives the audience a peek into three events that take place in the same hotel room, and eventually ties them together in a clever way.
After the disappearance of his daughter, Lo (Rhoda Jordan), Jon (Ben Siegler) makes multiple visits to hotel room 155, where Lo was staying before her disappearance. While Jon is waiting for what he hopes is a clue to his daughter’s whereabouts, the story takes us back to the night in question, where Lo and her boyfriend Jake (Cary Woodworth) are hatching a plan for a threesome with Jake’s friend Dana (Tiffany Shepis). Interwoven with this story is an earlier event featuring a nervous schlup, Brian (Lee Schall), who’s waiting on a drug-dealer (Rodney Eastman) to arrive so he can make sure this night with his special lady-friend, Sara (Cerris Morgan-Moyer), goes as planned.
As with most films of this nature everything goes wrong for everyone involved. Writer/director Eric Shapiro and his wife, writer/actress Rhoda Jordan put the pieces together in such a way as not to give the audience many clues to what’s ahead.
For a film boasting an indie budget, no big name actors, a first time director, and a first time writer, Rule of Three packs a punch and leaves an impression. Another hurtle gracefully crossed by Shapiro and crew is the inclusion of b-movie hot chicks who can act. Beautiful women may be a dime a dozen in films, but the ones who can act (and write) are a rare breed. Jordan holds her own as Lo, the sexy girlfriend who’s seemingly open to new experiences, while Shepis delivers an eye catching performance as the sexy and confident Dana. After checking out her acting credits and personal quotes on IMDb, I think Shepis may be my new favorite actress.
But let’s not forget the guys in Rule of Three; the amount of rage exuding from Siegler turns his whole body red, even his bald head, and the chemistry between Schall and Eastman keeps their scene going to the point that it’s easy to forget there’s more to the story. It would be easy to watch these two fumble about for an hour without checking the time. Eastman is especially strong as the “helpful” drug-dealer who knows exactly what to do in situations like Brian’s.
Without getting into spoilers, I can say that my two main concerns with the film lie with the ending. As much as I enjoyed the ending, it feels like the story ends about 20 minutes too soon. Also, the films touches on one of my movie pet peeves; a voice-over is used to remind the audience of something that was said earlier in the film. While this technique has it’s place (like in the final scenes of The Usual Suspects (1995)), it’s unnecessary here. It feels like the audience is being spoon fed the punchline to a joke. Maybe I’m overreacting, but like I said, it’s a pet peeve of mine.
Despite these two minor concerns, Rule of Three is a solid film that will surprise you with its wit and ability to keep you guessing right to the end.
Rule of Three does not have a UK release date yet, however it is available as a region 1 import.
Director: Eric Shapiro
Writer: Eric Shapiro (story), Rhoda Jordan (screenplay)
Cast: Ben Siegler, Rhoda Jordan, Cary Woodworth, Tiffany Shepis, Rodney Eastman, Lee Schall
Runtime: 85 minutes