The Day of the Lord

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
The Day of the Lord Movie Poster Image
Bloody, exploitive exorcism tale has violence, cursing.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 93 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Seemingly normal people are possessed by evil spirits and alcoholic priests can get the demons out through torture, sometimes to the death.

Positive Role Models

Menendez is a murderer and an alcoholic. He battles the devil and talks to God. Raquel is a teen whose ordinary rebellion turns out to be a sign that she's possessed by the devil.

Violence

While a vicious battle is supposedly waged against the devil, what we see is a teenaged girl being tortured. A man knocks his daughter unconscious with a fire extinguisher. A man repeatedly punches a girl in the head with brass knuckles. He hits her with a wrench. He breaks her nose. She's covered in blood and moaning, crying for mercy. He pulls out her fingernails as she screams. In a dream, it appears that a woman is using a scissor to cut off a man's genitals.  A young boy's bloody body is seen. A woman has a bloody eye. Later that eye is cloudy. On a crucifix hanging from a wall, the head of Christ screams. A girl threatens to tell police that the former priest has raped her. A girl describes what sounds like group sex she didn't want to have with an older man and his friends. A girl, possessed by the devil, mounts her bound father and forces sex on him.

Sex

A girl, possessed by the devil, mounts her bound father and forces sex on him. No nudity. We are told the devil is having the sex, but we see a girl forcing sex on her bound father. A girl sits on the toilet to pee. We don't see any nudity but are later told a girl's clothes were removed by a priest so he could look for signs of possession. A teenaged girl tries to create sexual tension between herself and a priest trying to save her from the devil.

Language

"F--k," "s--t," "bitch," "hell," "pansy," "balls," "damned," "pee," "piss," "screw," and "ass."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcoholism and drug use are featured. An adult smokes cigarettes. A girl smokes marijuana.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know The Day of the Lord is a sadistically violent Spanish film (with English subtitles) about an exorcism performed by an alcoholic defrocked priest whose last foray into demon-expulsion landed him in prison on a murder charge. The demon died, but so did the kid. The torture is so enthusiastic that this often feels like violence porn, a degradation-exploitation film. Viewers are subjected to almost gleeful torture and beating of a teenaged girl whose father suspects she's possessed. She forces him to have sex with her (no nudity). To contain her, the priest binds her, hits her, pulls her fingernails out, and commits all manner of bloody torture. A large amount of alcohol is consumed and adults smoke cigarettes. The girl smokes marijuana. A girl threatens to tell police that someone raped her. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "hell," "pansy," "balls," "damned," "pee," "piss," "screw," and "ass."

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What's the story?

In THE DAY OF THE LORD, Menendez (Juli Fabregas), an alcoholic, defrocked Spanish priest, went to jail for murder the last time he performed an exorcism. Sure, he ousted the devil who possessed the young boy, but in killing the demon, the priest also killed the boy he was out to save. Here on earth, they put you in jail for that. Now that he's out, his friend Sebas (Hector Illanes) comes by for a drink and asks for help with Raquel (Ximena Romo), his contrary teenaged daughter who, he's certain, has been possessed. Menendez warns him that his exorcism methods are harsh and dangerous. Sebas says he'd rather see his daughter dead and in heaven than alive with Satan's "horned devil inside her body." Things get worse from here.

Is it any good?

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this movie uses violence.  Do you think the plot makes it seem as if violence is a good method for solving problems? Why or why not?

  • How does this story depict the Catholic religion? Does it feel like a fair picture of a belief system? Why or why not?

  • Does this film provide satisfaction when "good" conquers "evil"? Or does it mock the notion of using terror and violence to achieve a supposedly good end?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

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