Wednesday 27 April 2022

365 Days: This Day (Movie Review)

Netflix just keeps delivering the goods, beefing up its catalog of quality at-home entertainment with banger after banger. All jokes and puns aside though, the streaming giant has been in the news recently for losing subscribers despite the immense success of shows like Squid Game. But with movies like 365 Days on the opposite end of the spectrum, it is easy to imagine why. We are not here to discuss the company's financial woes alas, but rather their sequel to one of 2020's most notorious movies.

Following the cliffhanger ending seen in the last film, the new one opens with a dreamlike sequence that wastes no time in showing viewers what type of movie it is: a glorified telenovela filmed like a string of music videos masking as an erotic thriller. But if you somehow manage to make it past that opening without clicking off Netflix, then you'll discover that the story begins one day before the wedding between our two protagonists, Massimo and Laura.

The movie wastes no time in brushing aside all the loose threads from the last one. Not only is Laura alive and well, but she is also no longer pregnant. I guess a baby bump or motherly duties would have gotten in the way of all the steamy sex scenes they had planned for the film. That one detail aside, we finally get to see our two lovers legitimize their romance through holy matrimony. 

But the honeymoon phase doesn't last very long and Laura is soon forced to grapple with what it truly means to be the wife of a mafioso. In the midst of all that grappling walks in Massimo 2.0, a hired hand named Nacho whose textbook advances slowly begin to win Laura's affections. Now Laura must also grapple with her loyalty to Massimo as the very foundation of their ill-conceived love gets tested.

Let me just start by saying that I realize there is a target audience for these types of low-brow erotic films, and that I am clearly well outside that demographic. That said, every movie is still made up of the same fundamental elements like plot and characterization, regardless of genre. And while individual films might be shaped by genre conventions, those basics still act like the glue holding the whole thing together. So I figured I'd assess this one on those very grounds.

In terms of plot, the story in 365 Days: This Day is pretty much the same generic "trouble in paradise" tale we've seen a million times in better films. But here it is cobbled together so sloppily that the mere act of sitting through it feels like a chore. The characters are likewise one-dimensional with often questionable motives, spouting meme-worthy lines of dialogue while failing to show any meaningful growth or development. But I bet no one was heading into this film expecting any different.

In fact, I'm pretty certain the only reason this film was green-lit was to tap into the demand for female-skewing erotic entertainment ala 50 Shades of Grey, and on those grounds, its existence seems almost justified. Noticed I'd said almost because the sex scenes themselves are so heavily scripted and overproduced that they can't help but come across as stiff and comically so. But I suppose if that's what you're here for then at least there's enough of it to make enduring all the bad dialogue and sloppy writing seem worthwhile.

In case I haven't made it clear enough at this point, 365 Days: This Day is as bottom-of-the-barrel as it gets. It caters to the lowest common denominator in a way that even defenders of the original film (all two or three of them) are bound to feel insulted. There are, quite frankly, far better erotic films out there for those that care enough to seek them out, making it very hard to recommend this one to anyone but the laziest of Netflix subscribers.