Netflix horror outing The Day of the Lord is a Mexican exorcism movie that takes the alcoholic faltering-faith priest of First Reformed and turns him into a bareknuckle-boxing John Constantine. If that does too good a job of selling the movie to you let it also be known that the guy’s demon-expunging method involves cattle-prodding a scantily clad teenage girl who’s just wet herself. In the classic I-watched-this-movie-so-you-don’t-have-to spirit, I inform you that this movie is coarse and foul, and hereby detail its levels of coarse foulness.
THE DAY OF THE LORD: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
The Gist: Interior: police van. A priest — in chains! The camera drone-flies straight up as the vehicle travels down a road, and there’s a crossroad, and together they form AN INVERTED CROSS. Hail-o, Satan, lord of the hoary deeps! Some years go by — however long a murder sentence in Mexico lasts. The priest, Menendez (Juli Fabregas), got out of jail and crawled directly into a bottle. His life consists of waking up from nightmares about a woman seducing him and a dead boy in a chair, and then reaching for the whisky. He lives in a dim-lit house cluttered with religious-looking paraphernalia, including a suit of armor with no arms. Everything’s covered with dust and filth. The woman from his scary dream is Marisa (Dolores Heredia); she knocks on the door to help him clean up the joint, and to almost kiss him. The dead boy was her son, and apparently, his exorcism not only killed him, but also the demon inside. She’s grateful to Menendez for ending the kid’s suffering, so that’s fun. Meanwhile, he has a different nightmare in which all the Jesuses on his walls turn into HOWLING JESI!
Of course, Menendez is no longer a priest. His frock has been racked. But: KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK. At the door is Sebastian (Hector Illanes), a weaselly looking fella who cares not that Menendez is questioning and/or lost his faith, as every priest does in every movie ever, because priests who still believe in the lord and Satan are BORING. Anyway, Sebas believes his teen daughter is possessed by Xaphanazazazuzu or whoever, and is calling for a spiritual extraction. It would be violent as a very violent thing, Menendez says, but Sebas insists. So Menendez cleans the house just so it can get very dirty again, which includes putting a clinking bagful of booze bottles in the trash can. Sobriety is a virtue in the exorcistical arts. It says so right in the bible.
The next day, Seb shows up with Raquel (Ximena Romo), who’s 17 going on Shaxul. She listens to heavy metal (not the good Satanic black metal stuff, but the boring generic stuff) in her headphones and is snotty like a typical teenager. Menendez locks her in and gives off some creepy quasi-pedo vibes just to throw us off the scent, maybe make us not notice how the crucifix in the frame with her is upside down. (As the good Satanic black metal guy once sang, I FEEL THE CROSSES TURN!) Before you know it, Menendez unleashes his HOLY HEAD BUTT upon sweet Raquelzebub, and chains her to a chair in the basement as he gets out his brass knuckles, hammer and pipe wrench for a good old fashioned exorcizin’.
What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: This sicko thing is essentially MEL GIBSON’S THE EXORCIST.
Performance Worth Watching: Nothing here is particularly interesting, but Romo’s performance will give you some Ju-Lew-in-Cape Fear vibes.
Memorable Dialogue: Oh my godless, take your pick:
“I’m highlighting the parts you have to read. I’ll be busy punishing Satan.”
“These chains are from the Inquisition.”
“It seems they don’t teach you how to tie knots in Hell!”
And the enduring classic:
“I’m going to f— Satan!”
Sex and Skin: No nudity, but there’s a vile sex sequence that pegs the squick-o-meter deep into the red.
Our Take: Pro: The image of a crazed priest holding two pipe wrenches up like a cross to ward off a berzerkoid demon. Con: Endlessly misogynistic scenes of a teenage girl (played by a 30-year-old actress, it must be noted) in a slinky slip tied to a chair and being savagely beaten with that wrench and other miscellaneous implements. Pro: The insanely moronic dialogue. Con: With his salt-and-pepper beard and a crazed look in his eye, Fabregas is a dead ringer for Mel Gibson. Pro: Some solid comic-booky shit. Con: It’s Hostel torture porn crossed with The Passion of the Christ torture porn. Pro: Deranged-ass movie don’t give a f—. Con: Dumb pitch-shifted demon voice and (sigh) crackity-bones sound effects. Pro: I laughed a lot. Con: I laughed at how gruesomely tasteless it is.
Our Call: SKIP IT. I’m out of pros. There are many more cons: The Day of the Lord is gross, punishing and pointless, and, per an end-credits sequence, has the cojones to believe it’ll spawn a sequel.
Stream The Day of the Lord on Netflix