What’s up! I’m Marlon and this is Ulven Reviews: movies and series from all over the world.
Today let’s talk about the 2020 Mexican-Spanish movie Menendez: The Day of the Lord, directed by Santiago Alvarado Ilarri.
The former exorcist priest, Menéndez (played by Juli Fàbregas), is released from prison, where he was after killing a young boy during a failed exorcism.
He spends his days drinking and having eerie visions when Sebas (played by Hector Illanes), a friend he made in jail, comes asking for help. He believes his teenage daughter, Raquel (played by Ximena Romo), is possessed.
After some reluctance, Menéndez accepts to at least meet the girl and analyze if she’s really possessed or just being a teenager.
“Menendez: The Day of the Lord” starts differently than most exorcism movies. Which is a good thing! Because no one can take anymore the old formula. And that makes the beginning of the movie quite promising.
Later, everything goes to shit. But in this beginning, at least you have something to hope for. At least you… you thought you could be seeing something good, or at least decent. That was not the case at all!
There are too many nonsensical things: like Menendez telephone calls. Oh, fuck! Those telephone calls were awful! Then there’s his exorcism style. He literally expels the demon by beating the shit out of the possessed. It was not original, it’s just stupid. And the whole last act is just a complete mess.
But it’s noticeable that the movie has problems for its entire duration, especially with the tone. It’s a movie that is completely a horror but randomly throws some out-of-tone, out-of-context humor.
The most blatant example is when Menendez is having a nightmare and some Jesus figure just cartoonish screams! I laughed, but now in a good way. It was more like “what the fuck is this shit?!”
Another thing regarding the tone that they completely got wrong is how disturbing the movie was.
Horror movies often are disturbing but in a completely different way. For example, think of Ari Aster of Hereditary and Midsommar. He’s great at disturbing and unnerving shit. That was not the case with Menendez.
Menendez is disturbing in a creepy pedophile way, and that’s not good, that’s not entertaining, it’s just disgusting.
I understand that with this seemingly pedo-thing they are trying to bait us, planting the seed of doubt in our minds. But I thought it was unnecessary. We’re already in doubt if she’s really possessed or not, we don’t need Menendez sniffing her clothes and looking horny watching her dance.
There are more fucked up things that I won’t discuss because of spoilers, but it’s disgusting, I guarantee you that.
But a detail I actually liked is how Menendez spots a possession. It was something I haven’t noticed until Menendez explained it to Sebas, but then, when I was watching it again to do the review, I realized it was there all along. They even zoom in to let us know what is happening, is very on your face. I was ashamed I didn’t get it before the exposition scene.
But his way of spotting a possession is the only thing I liked about the character Menendez. He is quite uninteresting and very cliché. He is the exorcist with demons of his own, more specifically: he is a drunk and likes porn with young-looking girls. His search results are full of “Jovencitas Cachondas” (or in English “horny young girls”), just to add a little spice to that pedo pot.
Sebas is the comic relief and he actually delivers some quite funny moments in a movie the comedy doesn’t quite work in general.
That leaves us with Raquel, who is by far the best character in every phase of the movie, as a very irreverent and smart teenager. She’s also the one who gives the best performance.
This role allowed Ximena Romo to display a wide range of emotions in her performance, and she showed she can manage it very well.
The others did quite okay. Not great, not terrible.
The big house in which Menendez lives was a great setting for the movie. It’s vast, seems old, full of religious artifacts, and even has a basement fit for exorcisms.
The lighting was excellent to complete the look. The darkness is in the right amount, not too dark to annoy us, but still dark enough to be believable and fit a horror movie.
The use of colors is quite decent as well. It’s a little too obvious for my taste but still did some nice shots. For example, the nightmares with bright, strong red, especially considering it’s a nightmare, it’s not a portrayal of reality. The score is another disappointment. It’s just a generic horror movie score, as we are used to.
Menendez: The Day of the Lord is quite terrible. The film has very few qualities. It’s an inconsistent movie, really out of tone, not scary, and disturbing in the wrong way. I’ll give Menendez: The Day of the Lord 3 Moons!
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