THE THIRD DAY (2018) BY FRANCESCO LONGO

Reviews

Director: Francesco Longo
Writer: Francesco Longo
Year: 2018
Starring: Roberto Ramon

Synopsis:
A man return to his home. Here, he will be faced with a dark truth, the world has been struck by a terrible plague.

Review:
With immediate effect a powerful, deep sound emanates from the speakers demanding your attention. This use of audio although somewhat generic, nonetheless elicits the desired response from the viewer and the short film, THE THIRD DAY, comes to life with a man bursting into his flat before frantically searching for some unknown item.

A sudden realisation or perhaps resignation comes over him as his erratic movement shifts from the external to the internal and starts to aggressively scratch his body. It is at this point that THE THIRD DAY gives us the old newsreader exposition cliche, filling us in regarding the backstory which here involves the standard tale of an infectious disease. Something our man is clearly showing the symptoms of.

Due to this and the brief length of the short – coming in at just under four-and-a-half minutes, THE THIRD DAY feels more like a strong pre-title sequence for a film in the vein of 28 DAYS LATER or the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake rather than a complete self contained piece. However based on the evidence of this and the directors previous work NYCTOPHOBIA I do hope that Francesco Longo gets the opportunity (not to mention budget) to expand this narrative into a longer piece of work.

NYCTOPHOBIA (2017) BY FRANCESCO LONGO

Reviews

Director: Francesco Longo
Writers: Francesco Longo, Paolo Mercandante
Year: 2017
Starring: Roberto Ramon, Michael Segal, Roberto D’Antona

Synopsis:
When the darkness comes at night a man is tormented by visions of the past but are they only visions or something more?

Review:
The third in a trilogy of short films looking at phobias (with SKIZOPHRENIA, 2014, and CLAUSTROPHOBIA, 2015, coming before) from upcoming director Francesco Longo, NYCTOPHOBIA unsurprisingly focuses in on the fear of darkness and wastes no time with preamble, immediately introducing us to our main character, the man, as he returns home and gets ready to go to sleep. While attempting to doze off the film INSANE plays, a nice nod not only to co-star Roberto D’Antona but also perhaps indicative of our man’s mental state and with it perhaps an analogy of what is about to occur – namely a psychological journey in which the darkness may or not be playing tricks.

One of the strengths here is that the setup is surprisingly very normal and grounded in reality, from the mysterious, unspecified creaking in the dark to the lying silently in bed trying to pin down the logical cause of the noise, helping make the situation more relatable and safe to us…that is until Longo introduces a few supernatural flourishes and things start to get a little creepy.

A menacing tone starts to pervade throughout the film, suddenly we are unsure as to what is real or imagined as things start to go south for our man and surreal for us pretty quickly. It is worth noting here in the realisation or rather visualisation of events that things do come across a little like I imagine they would in the mind of Rob Zombie from the crazy blonde chick to the interpretation of the devil and from this it has to be noted that the success of this film on a personal level may depend on your own stylistic preference for this type of horror. Although for my British readers imagine the writers of PSYCHOVILLE and INSIDE NO.9 playing it a little straighter and that would give some indication of what to expect.

In short NYCTOPHOBIA is a decent watch that will entertain and one that ultimately achieves what it sets out to. It is not a mindless dull literal translation of the concept of a ‘scary dark’ à la recent Hollywood hogwash horror but rather a more thoughtful, internalised and dare I say European approach as to the true horrors brought about by the impenetrable mysterious darkness, one’s own mind…and perhaps some supernatural forces too.

Throughout the films brief run time Longo manages to expertly craft a decent amount of tension within a short amount of time thanks to an intelligent use of audio and strong pacing (aided by the editing choices) although perhaps the narrative itself is a little too obvious for the seasoned horror fan with the turn being seen from a mile away nonetheless this minor gripe does not detract to much from the film.

Oh and check out what time the lead character wakes up. Amityville or Italy – evil is the same everywhere (and disregards time zones).

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Version Reviewed:

I watched an online screener of the film.