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by Andreas Prochaska

grade: 5

Drawing heavily on what has been made in the past, Andreas Prochaska, with Dead in 3 Days, has made one of his few feature films for the big screen, while showing clear evidence of his long career in television, in a very weak work, with an unsatisfactory script.

Disturbing texts

While it is true that Austria has often distinguished itself in the field of horror cinema – with many fine works appreciated at national and international festivals – it must unfortunately be said that what has arrived in Italy is not always as noteworthy. This is the case, for instance, of the horror film Dead in 3 Days, directed in 2006 by Andreas Prochaska, who is generally one of the most versatile directors – given his not always obvious ability to approach any genre – and generally appreciated in his homeland, especially in television.

And while it is also true that the slasher genre often finds fertile ground in a small location, the end result cannot always be said to be truly successful. This is what happens, for instance, in this film by Prochaska, which kicks off on the day of the graduation exam of a group of teenagers who live in the picturesque town of Ebensee and who have been friends since they were in primary school. Everything seems to be going well, until the moment when, having returned home from school and having been involved in a car accident resulting in the death of a deer, each of them receives a mysterious text message with the laconic text: ” you’ll be dead in 3 days”.

Drawing heavily on what has been made in the past – one cannot help but think of the famous saga of The Ring, with its killer videotape and the voice on the phone informing anyone who watched it that they would die within seven days – Prochaska, with Dead in 3 Days, has made one of his few feature films for the big screen, although it shows clear evidence of his long career in television, which began in 1998 with the pleasant The three postal Robbers.

Thus, all clichés, with a direction that too often emphasises moments of great pathos with didactic slow motion, close-ups that gradually turn into details and, last but not least, editing cuts that clearly aim at giving rhythm to the mise-en-scène, but which turn out to be excessively rapid and sudden. Such clumsy inaccuracies also come in addition to the use of the element of water. Since time immemorial, in fact, it has been known that the element of water holds infinite meanings and an important symbolism (Tarkovsky docet), yet in Dead in 3 Days everything is trivialised in the most hasty of ways, giving a final result with an extremely weak personality.

And if all this clearly denotes the fact that Prochaska doesn’t really feel at ease when it comes to stepping away from the small screen (at least as far as most of his film productions are concerned), the matter could get even “worse” when one considers the script. Because, in fact, the real Achilles’ heel of a film like Dead in 3 Days is an unconvincing screenplay – written by Prochaska himself together with Thomas Baum – in which the first “disturbing elements” can be seen right from the opening scenes. First of all: the fact that, although each character is warned of his or her death three days after reading the text message, the killings begin directly a few hours after this alarming “warning”. If, then, to all this, we add completely useless elements – such as the initial investment of the roe deer itself or the potentially disturbing character of the outcast classmate – the feeling of watching a sort of collage of already watched films becomes stronger and stronger.

And so it is that Dead in 3 Days (for which a sequel was also made – Dead in 3 Days 2 , of 2008) ends up revealing itself to be a highly imperfect and easily forgettable film, which does nothing but badly conceal a dangerous haste on the part of the director and the entire crew in making the whole thing, almost as if it were a mere filler in a film industry, the Austrian one, which, despite the fact that it doesn’t produce many works in a year, has many interesting and inspiring feature films to offer. Fortunately.

Original title: In 3 Tagen bist du tot
Directed by: Andreas Prochaska
Country/year: Austria / 2006
Running time: 93’
Genre: horror
Cast: Sabrina Reiter, Julia Rosa Stöckl, Michael Steinocher, Nadja Vogel, Laurence Rupp, Julian Sharp, Andreas Kiendl, Susi Stach, Michou Friesz, Karl Fischer, Amelie Jarolim, Michael Rastl, Konstantin Reichmuth
Screenplay: Thomas Baum, Andreas Prochaska
Cinematography: David Slama
Produced by: Allegro Film

Info: the page of Dead in 3 Days on iMDb