Release Date: March 3, 2009 (US, DVD).
Director: Andreas Prochaska.
Writer: Thomas Baum, and Uli Bree.
“Dead in 3 Days,” from Dimension Extreme Films is a recent release about revenge and misconceptions involving the death of a young boy on a frozen lake. Not wasting any time “Dead in 3 Days,” begins with a suicide and transitions into the final scene of the film, which is given a replay after a violent confrontation with the antagonist.
The film centrally revolves around five college students fresh out of college who party, cavort, and indulge in a rural Austrian town. But the peace and good times do not last long. Supporting character Martin (Laurence Rupp) is jumped in a bathroom. Foreshadowing the bloodshed that is about to flow “You will be dead in three days,” via text message is the killer’s warning, to the characters in the story that graduation will involve murder and torture rather than kegs and sexual escapades.
Director Prochaska, or writers Thomas Baum, and Uli Bree add in a sixth character to misdirect the viewer’s attention as to the real identity of the killer. Patrick (Julian Sharp) a loner and non-partier shadows this group of five friends in a jealous rage and manages to survive until midway in to the film. However, the killer, whose identity will remain secret in this review makes an appearance early in the film, but then takes a break until the end of the second act. This revenge killer is very creative in their murders and is a true utilitarian when a fish tank becomes the central piece in one of the most brutal deaths in horror film history. Often just out of frame or hidden behind an oversized hood the antagonist is not given a full reveal until late into the picture.
The characterizations are given an additional interesting angle with Alex (Nadja Vogel) and Clemens (Michael Steinocher) becoming intimate along with Martin and Nina (Sabrina Reiter), but the story mainly focuses on the group’s earlier misdeeds as children. Adding believability to the story collegiates Alex and Clemens spend a lot of time in bed and the nudity, while sparse signals that certain characters who over indulge in lustful adventures are sure to die later in the film. Mixing death and sex throughout “Dead in 3 Days,” seems to be an effective hook for the film that piques in the final few scenes. After a series of flashbacks, which reveals the motivations behind the killer’s actions the pacing in the film is given a kickstart with the remaining characters making their way to childhood friend’s family house. And mostly death, or possibly some answers awaits this group of friends inside.
“Dead in 3 Days,” does not add anything overly clever to the slasher, horror genre, but the execution of story and acting creates for a very watchable film. This pleasant looking, amateur cast comes across as believable and the story flows quickly onward with few plot holes. Only one scene where Nina bumps into a blonde, mature woman on a city street distracts, but the scene has a purpose and hints at the final unraveling of the story later in the film. As well, a plot hole or unrealistic scene involving; Nina, water, and a diver seems strange and the outcome of Patrick, who is forefront in early scenes, seems to disappear into the shadows halfway in the movie.
In the end, director Prochaska hits his shots and the creative story of five young adults revisiting their childhood pasts makes for an enjoyable time. Following a formulaic approach to horror storytelling the killer and killer’s motives are given a reveal, finally near the end of the film. This approach to writing does amp up the intensity and suspense of the film; yet, this common, linear approach to the story does seem predictable and conventional. However, few viewers will be able to clue in to the killer’s identity until very late in the picture.
This Austrian film, with some of the most vicious deaths in the horror genre can be very interesting at times and even comedic when the movie tries to be dramatic. Maintaining interest from beginning to end “Dead in 3 Days,” is worth sitting down to for the full ninety minutes. Already a sequel is moving towards a release date, but in the meantime the origins and source of the myth for “Dead in 3 Days,” can be seen in this initial revenge style thriller.
6.5 Mouldy Skulls out of 10.