Cruel Intentions 3

Reviewed By Chris Parry
Posted 10/26/04 10:31:50

"Surprisingly entertaining... for a softcore porn soap opera flick."
3 stars (Average)

I'll never quite understand why the makers of good films allow their work to be taken and reprocessed three times by the 'churn and burn' straight to video crowd. Perhaps they don't have any real choice in the matter, but anyone making a teen titillation film with any kind of chance at box office success these days must know going in that, should their film make money, there'll be a nasty knock-off or three in the works within months. It happened with Wild Things, it happened with Starship Troopers, and boy howdy, has it happened with Cruel Intentions. The third installment in the series is not just a sequel to a sequel to a remake, but it's the trashy sequel to a trashier sequel to a really trashy remake. and wtth all that trash involved, perhaps it's no surprise that the film is actually mildly entertaining.

The original Kathryn and Sebastian are now long gone from the scene, and their younger cousin, Cassidy (Kristina Anapau), is now at college, determined to take her place in society as the newest, baddest, arch-bitch queen the world has seen. Along with her for the ride is Jason (Kerr Smith), who knows Cassidy's wicked ways well, and Patrick, a new kid on the block who thinks he can compete with the black widow and her black widower for the "I'm a rich bastard who will one day step too far into shit and get it right up the poopchute" stakes.

"The only problem with sleeping with someone as twisted as you is that you're sleeping with someone as twisted as you...

Let's be honest, the kids have to start their path towards watching porn somewhere, and what better place than a film with the same name as an earlier one that parents wouldn't have liked, but didn't hate enough to stop their kids from seeing it, which is actually barely disguised adult fare.

"Hey mom, can we see Cruel Intentions 3? Come on, the first one was good. Remember? It had Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillipe?" Now, what mother is going to say no to that? Why, that Ryan Phillipe is such a nice young man...

Only Cruel Intentions 3 has no sign of Mr Phillipe. Or Ms Gellar. Or Amay Adams, Keri Lynn Pratt, or any of the other teen C-list that populated Cruel Intentions 2. Now we're in real straight to video territory, delving into the 'models turned actor' barrel and scraping the bottom but hard with such names as Kerr Smith (you might recall him as 'Catcher' in Broken Hearts Club), Kristina Anapau (MTV's Undressed) and Melissa Yvonne Lewis (Joe Schmo).

Maybe the director has some talent? Mmm, not quite. The show is helmed by former stuntman, actor, editor and producer Scott Ziehl (Earth vs The Spider) and written by Joe Schmo scribe Rhett Reese. Way to trawl those film schools, money men.

BUT! Much as I hate to admit it, there's a certain tasty element to Cruel Intentions 3 which was certainly missing in the second, and only partially present in the first. The plotline is simple, and nothing new in this franchise - rich bored college kids entertain themselves making bets that they can ruin others. But what makes this interesting is not that the writing is nuanced or that the acting is incredible or that it's even really erotic (it isn't), it's that this flick is as dark as all get out. When the original Kathryn and Sebastian plotted to destroy people for their own personal amusement, they did a pretty good job, but these guys don't just destroy lives, they turn them into puree. Even I, the cynical 'hack ptooey' merchant who rents bad films just so he can spray them with bile, finds it really hard to dislike a film that makes no bones about its intention to be nothing more than nasty.

You want brilliant plot twists? You really shouldn't be looking at a film with the number 3 in its title. But if you want a little T&A, some moments where you say to yourself, "Oh no, he didn't just do that," and even the odd moment of humor... Gah! No, I can't say it. I didn't hate this film at all, but I can't possibly bring myself to recommend it. I just can't do it. Go rent Das Boot instead. Learn something.

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