The Day of the Beast
the day of the beast | alex de la iglesia | jorge guerricaechevarria | alex angulo | armando de razza | santiago segura | devil | christmas | ritual | action | comedy | crime | thriller | spain | terele pavez | nathalie sesena | maria grazia cucinotta | gianni ippoliti
Film: The Day of the Beast (El día de la bestia)
Director: Álex de la Iglesia
Writer: Jorge Guerricaechevarría and Álex de la Iglesia
Starring: Álex Angulo, Armando De Razza and Santiago Segura
This was a film that one of my favorite podcasters talked about on I believe one of his Christmas episodes. It definitely sounded intriguing so when I saw this one a part of the best of the 1990’s podcast series that I’m participating in, it gave me a chance to check it out. The synopsis here is bent on committing as many sins as possible to avert the birth of the beast, a Catholic priest teams up with a Black Metal aficionado and an Italian connoisseur of the occult.
We start this off with a priest coming into a church. He is Cura (Álex Angulo). He tells another priest what he must do and he’s given advice. Something bad happens to the other priest and Cura has to set off. He’s a professor of theology and through research, the numbers he has figured out he believes to be the date the Antichrist will be born.
He then goes to Madrid. We see him as he commits sins in hopes that he will damn his soul enough for the devil to visit him. The sins he is committing are bad, but none of them are overly heinous. He finds a bum who was set on fire and there is the message behind him ‘Clean-up Madrid’. He robs the man before heading off.
His journey brings him to a record shop that is run by José María (Santiago Segura). He gives him a tape of a heavy metal band as well as the address to where he lives. His mother Rosario (Terele Pávez) has a room to rent. Cura heads over there where he meets her as well as Mina (Nathalie Seseña).
Together with José María, the two of them go on a journey to stop the end of the world before it happens. This brings them to continue to commit sins as well as to an expert in the occult, Cavan (Armando De Razza). He is held against his will as they figure out how to summon the devil. Will it work or is Cura descending into madness with his plan?
Now I did want to go a bit lighter on the recap here as this film really does have pretty basic plot. I think it is quite interesting in that we are dealing with two aspects of films I’m really into, the perversion of religion and the descent into madness. The idea that Cura is committing these sins in order to get an audience with the devil so he can stop the birth of the Antichrist is an intriguing duality. He is committing these sins for a good reason. If that is the case though, are they really enough for the devil to visit him?
Going from there though, there really is nothing supernatural happening for a good stretch. I find this even more interesting as I was wondering if the signs he read were truly signs or if he’s seeing what he wants to see. There is something that happens with a ritual that gives an excuse for something that they seen. I really think they play this well with the realism of the film.
The characters that Cura ends up with are pretty funny too. José María is a proclaimed Satanist and really into heavy metal. He really digs what Cura is doing and really wants to help him. It makes me wonder how much he really believes though, as a Satanist, you’d think he’d want the Antichrist to be born. Cavan is a fraud who is just using this as a job and for fame. What they do to him and to Susana (Maria Grazia Cucinotta), I couldn’t blame them for being mad, but it makes for an interesting change.
That moves me to the pacing of the film. I think that it is really well done. It is part comedy and I’m not always the fan of that in my horror, but this one actually works really well. The comedy is more of the absurdity of things that happen and never hurt the tension for me. We have a set time that they need to get to, so that helps. If I do have any negatives to say, the film even though it doesn’t get boring, does kind of lose its way. Part of that is there is so little information they’re going off of. I really like the antics though and the idea in general. The ending is really good in wrapping up all of things that happen.
This then moves me to the acting of this movie, which I also think is really well done. Angulo is actually more subdued than the other two actors, but his determination works. I really like the idea of what he’s doing, even though it is so absurd and quite funny. Razza is really good in his character. We’ve all seen people like this before and it’s funny that he is taken for being real. It is a bit more interesting with some of the ideas he provides. Segura is hilarious. I thought that Seseña and Cucinotta were both quite attractive and the rest of the cast fit for what was needed.
If I do have anything else negative to say about the film, it does come from the effects department. For the practical effects, they were well done. I didn’t have any issues there and there wasn’t a lot if memory serves. There is some CGI with a goat and with a creature, that didn’t look great. I’ve seen worse though for sure. There is also an issue I had with the green scene of the sky as well. That didn’t necessarily hold up or look great. The film though is shot very well in my opinion aside from that.
Now with that said, I really like the idea of this film. The perversion of religion and the descent in the madness was something that I found to be quite interesting. It is really a fun one that never really gets boring to me. I do think that the story does kind of stall out in the middle, but I really don’t mind it. It all culminates in a really good ending. The acting really helps to bring it to life. Practical effects of the film work, but some of the CGI really doesn’t hold up. I think that the soundtrack of the film works as well for what is needed, but not really one that stands out to me. I would actually recommend this film if the things I said are interesting to you. I will warn you though; this is from Spain so I watched it in English with subtitles. If that is an issue, I’d avoid this one. If not I would recommend it for sure as I found it really good.
My Rating: 8.5 out of 10