A clique of teenagers begins to receive life threatening cell-phone messages that warn "In three days you're dead" and they soon begin to die at the hands of a shrouded killer. One girl in the group is the only one who discovers a mysterious clue leading to the assailant's identity, but as the body count rises and the slayings become more and more vicious, no-one outside of her group wants to believe her and time is running out...
If it's the day of your high-school graduation, and you receive a text message saying "You will be dead in 3 days," and that creepy classmate who always stands around staring at you has been doing even more standing around staring at you lately… well, according to Dead in 3 Days
, there's really nothing you can do anyway. This Austrian slasher film takes the aforementioned harbingers of doom (as well as hitting a deer with a car, always a bad sign in movies such as this) and spreads out the terror among five teenagers in the scenic lakeside town of Ebensee. The opening reels are effective, with the teens a uniformly attractive bunch; newcomer Sabrina Reiter is the pluckiest of the group. It then becomes clear that director Andreas Prochaska is more interested in recycling old horror conventions than finding a new slant on this material, and the convention he holds dearest is that slasher victims must do the dumbest things possible in order to keep the story going. Even for slasher-movie teens, this crew is an unusually nitwitted bunch. (Just as a helpful hint, please remember that if you are tied to an anchor in a boat in the middle of a lake, and there is a knife in your hand, you should probably avail yourself of the opportunity to cut the rope before the anchor is thrown in the water and you are dragged overboard. You're welcome.) The gore level is moderate, and the most horrifying sight here is not one of the grisly murders but the view inside the men's room at a nightclub. (Kids these days.) A straight-to-DVD release in the U.S., the disc offers both German-language and English-dubbed options. This film was a big enough Euro-hit to inspire a 2008 sequel, understandably titled Dead in 3 Days 2
. --Robert Horton