Parents' Guide to

The Day of the Lord

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Bloody, exploitive exorcism tale has violence, cursing.

Movie NR 2020 93 minutes
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The Day of the Lord is sadistic, ridiculous, and worrisome. Most of this just feels like torture porn. In its graphic depiction of a man viciously punching a contrary young girl, it certainly establishes a precedent of permission for that kind of behavior even as it's cloaked in the need to rid the world of demons. And punching is the least of it. He hits her with a wrench. Someone whacks her with a fire extinguisher. Menendez pulls out her fingernails. But, of course, it's all for her own good and she thanks them in the end, which not only confirms the church's "power" but also suggests that violent men are the answer to a distressed maiden's problems.

The many, many ways in which this feels exploitive and insincere are too numerous to list, but if the possessed girl has the superhuman strength endowed by the demon to toss grown men around a room, how can a few ropes keep her tied to a chair? How does torturing someone who's possessed by the devil scare the devil? Wouldn't the devil relish the violence its presence is inciting? Can the devil feel pain? Wouldn't he enjoy it if he did? If the devil is so tricky, why can't the devil just pretend to leave? How would this mortal priest know if he'd succeeded or not? The emphasis on the power of God over evil here sidesteps the issue of how a super-powerful evil spirit could under any circumstances be conquered, frightened, or destroyed by a weak human, even one back by God. The scariest part of this movie is that it's only "Part 1.

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