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The Third Day: The Disturbing Jude Law Show Everyone Forgot About



Jude Law is crucified in The Third Day

Shows and movies about cults are so addictive for some reason, despite them usually being super disturbing, showing terrifying events that we would never want to be involved in. Perhaps this is what makes them so intriguing, because by watching them we are constantly projecting ourselves into impossible situations and wondering how we would deal with it. Although, somewhere, the possibility of finding ourselves amongst a cult doesn’t actually seem that unrealistic, and they aren’t as impossible as we think. We have been given an array of movies and some of the best cult TV shows and documentaries, but there’s one that has unfortunately been forgotten about, and is by no means deserving of its fate.

The British-American series The Third Day, created by Felix Barrett and Dennis Kelly (who made the masterpiece Utopia), is a 2020 psychological thriller-folk horror series that should certainly have gotten more recognition, especially for fans of disturbing cults in horror, as it is one that will have your jaw on the floor. The story follows a man and then a woman on their separate journeys, but arrive at the same island at different times; what happens there is far more shocking than they had anticipated. For those who have forgotten about The Third Day

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, here’s a recap, and for those who don’t know, let’s find out what it’s about and why it should be one to remember.

Horrifying and bizarre events unfold through three seasonal parts. The first part, titled “Summer,” are three episodes that introduces us to Sam, played by the brilliant Jude Law, who stumbles upon a young girl attempting to hang herself in the woods. He rescues her and decides to take her back to her family, which leads him to the strange and mysterious island of Osea where the tide rises and blocks off any road access at different intervals of time. Sam soon finds himself amongst a shady, aggressive group of islanders who are doing whatever is needed to preserve their island traditions.

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What makes it all worse is that Sam came to the island of Osea grieving the loss of his son; grieving a death is a typical plot line for a classic cult story, much like Midsommar, but when he begins to discover the odd mixture of Christian and ancient Celtic traditions being practiced by the people, who are preparing for an annual festival to celebrate the god Esus, he makes some unsettling discoveries. Something we surely have learnt by now is that if you see some weird rituals going on, run the other way. But no, The Third Day keeps the tension high and the audience shouting at the TV (if you want your heart to be beating out your chest, then it’s a reason to watch); the writers provide a litany of clever expositional tools to make Sam’s entrapment feel all the more natural.

Starting off similarly to other recent folk-horror stories like The Wicker Man and Ari Aster’s Midsommar, viewers felt semi-prepared for some disturbing and weird events to take place, but by no means expected how they were going to be thrown into the second part of the series. In something so unique (and a reason that this show is totally underrated), this installment, titled “Autumn,” was broadcast as a 12-hour live event on the island. The producers described this as a major immersive theater event (courtesy of the brilliant experimental theater group Punchdrunk, who collaborated with the creators and director Marc Munden, also from Utopia), which was filmed live in one continuous shot.

That’s right, the entire 12-hour event was live-broadcast as a single-take, one-shot experience starring Jude Law, Emily Watson, Paddy Considine, Florence Welch, Freya Allan, Naomie Harris, and dozens upon dozens of extras who bring a disturbing, psychotic fall festival to life. Law is incredible here, as we see him undergo extremely strenuous physical acts like dragging a wooden boat by himself for half an hour, or being crucified on the coast as water rises to nearly drown him.