Thriller: Dead in 3 Days
Not knowing what to expect from a movie is always the best place to start, in my opinion, because without any preconceived idea about what you’re going to watch, then it’s pretty hard to be disappointed. The reality is that you can never really have ‘no idea’ of what you’re going to watch, unless someone drags you into a cinema (or in front of a television screen) and surprises you with some random screening. I think it’s fair to say that we usually make up our minds pretty quick about a movie based purely on the name and whatever the marketing department decided to slap on the DVD cover (or movie poster).
In the case (and on it! HA! See what I did there!?) of DEAD IN 3 DAYS you’re presented with the side profile of a blond girl, laying on her back, with a trickle of blood running down her face. Above the title is the obligatory pitch line “In the vein of ‘I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER’ comes this chiller from Austria”. This is one of those rare occasions where the marketing department has actually nailed the content of the movie and not offered up any overly grandiose promises that no movie could ever possibly live up to.
There aren’t any real surprises in this film. Far from it, it’s a pretty bog-stock, teen slasher flick. There’s the blatantly obvious red-herring, the sexually promiscuous, self obsessed group of young adults and the mysterious, menacing enigma who wants them dead. What does come as a surprise is how enjoyable this movie actually is.
Cinematically it’s hard to find fault in this movie. It holds up quite well, even against some of the big budget Hollywood movies around these days and even finds the odd opportunity to be a little artistic. There are some interesting choices used during the soundtrack, which mostly consists of (English vocal) soft-rock tunes, none of which I can say I recognized.
The cast of young actors in Dead in 3 Days all put in solid performances, which helps to engross you in the movie. However they, and the movie as a whole, are let down by some very poor choices made during the structuring of the plot.
On the day of their high-school graduation, best friends Nina, Martin, Clemens, Alex and Mona all receive a strange text message, which states that they each will be dead within the next three days. None of them take the message seriously and don’t even discuss it with each other until Martin goes missing, from a night club, during their celebrations. Nina, worried that the SMS may have some relationship to her boyfriend’s disappearance, convinces the others that they must go to the police, however their concerns aren’t taken seriously until Martin’s body is discovered next day.
I came away from this movie ultimately disappointed. The story isn’t actually too bad, albeit somewhat sausage-machine like. It falters because there are several points (one in particular) where I felt I’d been ‘ripped off’ by the story structure, things are revealed late in the movie that should have been presented to the viewer earlier. The ‘red herring’ that I mentioned is not only very obvious, but wasted without any real impact on the story. The ending is somewhat flat and the final scene contains exposition that, in my opinion, should have been at the very beginning of the film.
Having called it on it’s faults though, I have to admit that the film had me on the edge of my seat during several sequences. It manages to generate enough suspense that you find yourself fighting the urge to yell instructions — along the “GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE!” lines — at the screen. And for those moments alone, this movie is worth renting. [source]