7.31.2009

Dead in 3 Days (2006): The Day Psychopaths Learned to Text


It may sound like a J-horror film, but oh no, it’s Austrian!

Sometimes it feels like certain parts of the world cling to past decades. Japan must be in the 80’s. Mexico in the 70’s. And Austria…definitely the 90’s. Dead in 3 Days looks, sounds, and moves like a late 90’s teen slasher. Everything from the alternative rock music to the past-coming-back-to-haunt-you setup make the film a pretty standardized horror movie, but this tried-and-true formula is tried and is true for a reason. It works.
I'm just saying, military jackets...90's fashion...
The one indicator that this film does not actually take place in the era of flannel and grunge is the text message threats our group of prep-school graduates receive on the same day: “In 3 days, you’ll be dead!” Since the text is in German, I can’t tell if it’s actually more like “n 3 dayzz u will b ded!” Like the best friends these kids are, none of them tell each other that they receive the text until things start getting weird when one of them goes missing. It isn’t until about 20 minutes in that we realize the short-haired blonde, Nina, is our Final Girl and she’s pretty likeable. In fact, none of the characters really bugged me, which is unusual. The acting is good and the writing is smooth enough not to have me groaning at bad dialogue from wimpy characters.

Suspicions...

The only part where you are not so pleased with the teenagers is a scene in which they hold an MTV-music-video-style party inside a bronco. Smoking weed, drinking beer, and some girl is even doing coke—all while the vehicle shoots down the road. Come on guys. But the filmmakers handle it pretty well, because you’re thinking oh great, they are going to hit someone and we’ll get the I Know What You Did Last Summer story all over again. And they do hit something. But it turns out to be a small deer. They sober up pretty quickly, watching the poor animal suffer because of their actions. It’s probably my favorite scene in the whole movie because it’s a nice way to play with our expectations and an ominous foreshadow to the rest of the film. It sets the tone perfectly.

Speaking of foreshadowing. We're not emphasizing this fish tank for any partiular reason. Really, we promise.

The deaths are nothing special. Sitting down to write this review, I had a tough time remembering all of them (I watched it about a week ago). But, in true 90’s fashion, it’s not really about the gore. It’s about finding out who is killing them and most importantly, why they are being killed. I won’t give away who the killer is, but I will say that the killer, when the identity is concealed and when it is revealed, is genuinely creepy.

Is that the killer from Urban Legend?


Overall, the Dead in 3 Days is a good watch. Director Andreas Prochaska seems fairly new to the non-televised feature film and he’s done well with this one. The technical elements of the film are nothing to shout about, but none of them work against the movie by any means. I can’t say that I’m dying to see the sequel, but if the opportunity presents itself, I won’t look the other way.

10 comments:

  1. The fish tank part is pretty gruesome. lol

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  2. I really liked this one. I don't know why, but I give way more slack to Euro-Horror lately than I do the crap we get here in the U.S.

    It's hard to explain without writing a 100,000 word post, but they just seem to hit the mark (or close too it) more often of late.

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  3. Yeah I tend to agree. There seem to have more sincerity about them.

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  4. Maybe cause Europeans experienced the holocaust and fascism in their back yard. That would make me feel like making some crazy shit, just like nam did to film makers in the 70s which over lapped into the early 80s.

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  5. I would doubt that any of the people involved in this film experienced the holocaust or fascism in their own back yard...

    Anyway, flick looks intersting...may have to give it a viddy.

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  6. Well, the overall cultural influence from facism is definitely there in modern European cinema, especially in France. It's been discussed in the high-brow film criticism circle quite a bit.

    But i believe sawedoff was referring to European cinema in general anyway.

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  7. I was exceedingly underwhelmed by this one, I thought it was a boring teen horror that should have been sued by the screenwriters of I Know What You Did Last Summer, but I seem to be alone on that one, everyone else seems to like it =D

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  8. I don't think it's possible to discuss this film without mentioning I Know at least once

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  9. yeah the fish tank part was good. pretty much boring the rest of the time.

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