As sexy as a snuff film, with the production value of your average porn (as well as the story), 365 Days is a film that doesn’t just flagellate itself with bad filmmaking but salts the resultant wounds with even worse timing of release. In true 50-Shades-Of-Grey-rip-off fashion (and here I thought we were done with this shit), what this movie wants is to be sexy with every pronunciation of “S” in that word replaced with a “TH”, say it like that aloud – I dare you. But it’s not sexy; it’s not hot, it’s not romantic and it’s certainly not pretty.
The world has barely entered the hangover stage of the rise of the Me Too movement; in a few months time it will be three years since the fall of Harvey Weinstein and the arrested development of sexual politics. And what does my beloved industry see fit to release at such a time?: A film about a young Polish woman, Laura, being kidnapped by a hunky mafioso demigod named Massimo, who claims to have fallen in love with her and will hold her captive for an entire year until she either falls in love with him, or not; whereupon he will let her go. It’s not a horror film, what I just told you is not, in any way, played purposely for shock, terror or scares; oh no. 365 Days is a love story through and through, fully equipped with all the givens you can imagine; minus any self awareness as to just how horrifying its story comes across.
I’m just going to spoil what happens because of course she ends up falling in love with him! He grabs her by the throat on more than one occasion, gets right up in her face while growling the creepiest macho/alpha male bullshit dialogue, physically overpowers her when she tries to get away, and we even see him force aggressive oral sex on some random stewardess aboard his private jet just because he can; complete with teary eyes and gagging. But still Laura gives in and loves him back anyway because the movie has no idea it’s being scarier than most intentional horror films, it thinks it’s turning you on, a fact made crystal clear by the film’s vomit-inducing, 50 Shades of Grey-styled soundtrack; that and the obligatory post-kidnapping shopping montage and reality dating TV show tone. It doesn’t take a genius to see the bigger picture here, if this were real life, Laura wouldn’t be in love, she’d be a victim of Stockholm syndrome, something I’m fairly confident the filmmakers have never heard of in their entire lives.
Massimo is portrayed like a God among mortals, all men want to be him – all women want to be with him. The encounter with the stewardess ends with her, tears and make-up running down her face, cheekily smiling; and not to him, to herself – in private. Last minute insurance so there can be no question as to her own enjoyment; so you know oh, she enjoyed it so it’s OK. The film thinks he’s the ultimate alpha male you wish was inside you right now, when in fact he’s just a misogynistic and rapey thug whom, did I mention? – Full on kidnaps a woman to force her to fall in love with him! And the movie thinks this is sexy? And hot and aspirational? Get lost!
On top of all that fundamental fuckery, the acting is, appropriately now that I think about it, of pornography standards; I blame the dialogue and clueless direction personally. The cinematography is like that of a cheesy perfume advert that curls your toes more than anything else, I fail to recall one single well-timed music cue, the graphic sex scenes invoke more cringe than heat – due to their creepy context, and the plot? That somehow manages to blur the line between uninteresting enough to be boring, and so absurd and jaw-dropping it holds your attention; no I don’t know how they cracked that one but I’d like to for science sake.
It’s worse than 50 Shades of Shit, but for all it’s ridiculousness it fails to at least be more fun than 50 Shades of Shit. It’s a badly made film of the trashy sub-quality you would expect from such a rip-off, with some of the worst sexual politics I have ever seen. I watched it out of curiosity, and was somehow embarrassed despite sitting alone. Know that I never give a 1/10 lightly, on IMDB it’s a score too often thrown about like a child with a chainsaw, but in this instance: no other score feels as appropriate. Sometimes a score functions better as a representation, rather than a measurement of quality.
Did it make me as angry as some other films I would award 1/10? Surprisingly not. Will it fester in my memory like a Vietnam flashback? Again, no. Maybe that’s just me being really tired and desensitised to this kind if crap, but the film still had it both ways, not just poor and badly made on it’s own, but fundamentally offensive and really kind of evil. I wouldn’t say no to watching it out of morbid curiosity, like I did (enter at your own risk and all that), but for goodness sake, proceed with some damn caution. It’s badly misguided porn that sets women further back than the stone age and somehow scored a release on Netflix; how the mighty have fallen.