DEAD IN 3 DAYS
Director: Andreas Prochaska
Year of release: 2006
Country of origin: Austria
Running time: 94-97 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: DVD only
Tagline: "Your time is running out" and "In 3 days your dead".
Also known as: In 3 Tagen Bist Du Tot
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: Set in Austria and spoken in German Dead in 3 Days follows a group of high school friends who have just passed their final exams and completed graduation. A party to honor the occasion is set to happen later that night but before they attend our group of five each receive a mysterious text message claiming that they will be dead in three days. Though none of the kids really take the threats seriously at the time this begins to change when one of their number goes missing that night at the party only to be discovered drowned in a lake by the others the following day. Soon after another of the group is abducted and looks set to meet the same fate but manages to escape and liaise with the police who were already sniffing around after the first murder. After the police prove ineffective the surviving friends take matters into their own hands after they come to suspect they are being targeted due to an unfortunate incident that they all had a hand in as children which resulted in tragedy.
Good points: Being set in picturesque Austria the film boasts some very attractive scenery at times which is sharply contrasted with the dingy messy interiors of the party venue and boathouse type structure. In parts the film boasts a more real gritty flavour due to some of these backdrops but then you have the stunning lakes and mountains to counterbalance the ugliness with beauty.
There are a couple of suspects among the characters that we know who might be the killer with an outcast to the group Patrick who carries a torch and seems to have a history with final girl Nina being one such suspect. There is also a policeman named Kogler who seems a bit creepy in his attitude towards Nina sometimes seen staring at her or watching her ominously.
This next thing I'll mention isn't strong enough to list as a good point on it's own so seeing that it is regarding the killer I'll tag it on to this point. It is also perhaps a mild spoiler. The killer here doesn't have a particularly good look and initially I was disappointed but they do make up for this a bit towards the end when we learn that the disguise is more clever and significant than we first believed.
There are a couple of very good kills in this with the drowning which I already spoiled in the story section (sorry) being well put together. It doesn't sound like it would be a particularly good kill I know but I thought the way it was done here was pretty good. The head and shoulders above everything else death and my favourite part of the whole film is something that involves a hotel restaurant and a prop inside here that we had been introduced to earlier by one of the characters named Clemens. This death was expertly carried off and I would go as far to say it is among my favourite slasher kills ever so very much a stand out moment for me.
The soundtrack is quite hip and has its finger on the pulse as what was probably seen as cool music at the time. The songs chosen suit the film pretty well and I was pleasantly surprised to hear Monta contribute a couple of songs who are sometimes referred to as the German Bright Eyes (Bright Eyes being one of my favourite bands).
Bad Points: I thought they were too patchy on the history between Nina and Patrick. They should have gone into more detail about their history which would have left us more informed. Spoiler: If they had revealed more about Patrick and Nina's past it would have either made us suspect him more initially as the killer or feel a bit more empathy towards him when he met his demise while trying to save Nina. Seeing that they didn't give us any backstory though he felt like a bit of a nothing character that I didn't really care about one way or the other.
None of the group of main characters including final girl Nina are particularly likeable and there was never a point really where I felt truly invested in any of them. They all either seemed a bit obnoxious or kind of brooding and sullen so not exactly people you were falling over yourself to like and root for. One of the females (Mona) was in particular very rude to who I assume was her wheelchair bound father so she doesn't come across well. No effort is made to explain why her feelings towards him are so frosty.
The pacing is slightly off kilter to me and I felt it dragged a bit at times and could have done with another murder or extended chase scene to help liven it up a bit. The middle section in particular (that one great kill aside) I found to be a rather boring and laboured.
Spolier here: I didn't think they ended it on the best note with the parting shot revealing to us that both Nina and Mona survived. (Having since watched the sequel however I guess the ending here does play a key role in that). Anyway in my opinion a more downbeat ending with the footage of the childhood incident with the kid falling into the ice would have been a more effective and powerful way to close the film. The film had a downbeat, depressing vibe to it anyway (not a bad thing at all imo) so a more dreary ending would have suited it better I think. Though it was worth the wait when shown towars the end I was a bit disappointed/frustrated while watching the fim that the nature of the childhood incident wasn't revealed earlier as well. Seeing that they didn't use it as the very end scene I think it would have been better served being slotted in somewhere earlier in the film.
Verdict: A decent enough Euro slasher that both looks and sounds the part but ultimately for me didn't quite deliver and left me a bit disappointed. It isn't a bad effort by any means, it has taken inspiration from several key slasher films of the past which is always nice and one of the deaths is awesome. A poor job is done with the main characters which spoils things and I found it became slightly boring at times. The killer also initially was a letdown for me though admittedly the film redeemed itself in this area towards the end. Decent is the word of the day here for this one with it falling into the just about above average bracket for me.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1) Martin: Bound and attached to an anchor and then thrown in a lake to drown.
2) Patrick: Stabbed to death.
3) Alexa: Decapitated on the serrated edge of a fish tank.
4) Clemens: Stabbed in the chest.
5) Erika Haas: Stabbed and then drowns in the lake.