Many, many years ago, I read a Clive Barker short story called “Dread” (it was later turned into a film that I haven’t seen) and to the best of my recollection, it was about a strictly vegetarian woman locked in a room with a piece of chicken. All she had to do to get out was to eat the piece of chicken. She refused, and the hungrier she got, the more the piece of chicken decomposed, until she finally got so hungry that she ate the piece of chicken days later, when it was covered in maggots.
I may be misremembering the details, but the broad strokes remind me of the profoundly messed up 365 Days, a Polish erotic drama that has been the most popular movie on Netflix over the last month, according to their daily list of the most-watched movies. It is not a horror movie, but it may as well be. 365 Days takes Laura (Anna Maria Sieklucka) — sex-starved owing to the fact that her boyfriend is preoccupied with “f***ing other women in the ass” — and locks her in a figurative room with Massimo (Michele Morrone), a Sicilian gangster who kidnaps Laura and gives her 365 days to fall in love with him. He’s an abusive killer prancing around naked like a chicken covered in maggots until she finally succumbs to Stockholm syndrome, sleeps with him, and eventually falls in love with her kidnapper.
The exact moment she officially succumbs seems to arrive when a colleague of Massimo’s tries to rape Laura. Massimo blames her because she is dressed provocatively, and in the argument that ensues, Massimo pushes Laura overboard his yacht. However, he dives in and rescues her from drowning. “You saved me,” she says to the man that nearly killed her, before f**king him on numerous uncomfortable surfaces around the yacht.
If you’re curious as to why Massimo kidnapped Laura in the first place — and I know you are — it’s because in the cold open, he and his father reject an offer of 12-year-old sex slaves from human traffickers, because they are bad men but not that bad. After rejecting the sex slaves, Massimo’s father is shot through the back and killed, but the bullet goes through his body and punctures through Massimo’s stomach. As he lay bleeding, Massimo has a vision of a woman who looks like Laura, and he spends the next five years looking for that woman before encountering her at a resort and kidnapping her.
Meanwhile, after they fall in love, Massimo finally frees Laura and allows her to return to Poland (after they f**k in a bathroom), she acts betrayed, as though she’s just had her heart broken. It is that messed up.
That is the bare-bones version of the bare-boned plot, most of the rest of which is a series of soft-core sex scenes that 14-year-old boys are watching after their parents go to sleep, which is the only other explanation I can offer for the popularity of the film, unless there is a huge audience craving shots of the back of a woman’s head while she’s blowing Massimo, because there is a lot of that in this film. Beyond that, there’s not much to speak of here, except for a nonsensical cliffhanger designed to set up a sequel. It’s the kind of movie you fast forward to get to all the good parts, only to realize that there are no good parts. It’s a profoundly disturbing premise, but the movie itself — which boasts a 0 percent on RT — is excruciatingly tedious, toxic as hell, and laughably acted.
Header Image Source: Netflix