If you are the kind of person who gets “lost” easily, or the type to pull your phone out during the movie, turn back now. This film is NOT for the easily distracted. 3 DAY WEEKEND is unique, and not a movie to throw on for background noise.
Taking a leap into experimental film territory, 3 DAY WEEKEND tells the same story four different ways. A tiny cast and nearly zero dialogue are just the beginning of the unconventional trickery of this story. Morgan Krantz, Scott MacDonald, Nathan Phillips, and Maya Stojan are the soul of 3 DAY WEEKEND, each getting their own chance to shine, as the story gets told and retold from each of their character’s perspectives. A textbook definition of misinterpretation, each story gets more convoluted and less honest – or do I have that in reverse? We begin with Ben (Morgan Krantz), no more than an innocent bystander in this story, heading out on a long weekend camping trip to heal his broken heart. Nearly as soon as he arrives he realizes something is amiss, and unfortunately he sticks his nose in where it doesn’t belong – and suffers the consequences. As we muddle through each consecutive version of the story we are able to pluck more details and the puzzle begins to come together more clearly.
As I mentioned above, the story is told with almost no dialogue – there are a few grunts and yells, and a word or two here or there, but never strung together, and mostly exclamations of rage or pain. In an interesting but potentially problematic turn, Shan (Maya Stojan) is deaf or hard of hearing or mute (this is never made completely clear). Actress Maya Stojan, best known for Castle and Agents of Shield is not, herself, deaf or hard of hearing. While the option to “let actors act” is always on the table and this topic is highly controversial, it’s this reviewer’s personal opinion that deaf/HoH roles should go to the multitude of talented and able deaf/HoH actors.
If, for whatever reason, this isn’t possible, there is much care to be taken in properly portraying these issues, with respect and dignity. Shan never signs properly, has friends that don’t sign with her and use primitive gestures to communicate before resorting to writing things down, and while her deafness is a big piece of not just the story, but how the story is told, it is presented very much as a plot point and not a character trait. I am thankful for my own Deaf/HoH friends who have pointed these issues out to me, and I encourage them and others to make their voices known on this issue, as I’m the first to admit that I’m not the authority. That being said – The horror community is not always known for having the best views on differences and disabilities, and while this is certainly not the most egregious example, 3 DAY WEEKEND could have done a lot better.
3 DAY WEEKEND is, in a single word, ambitious. Gritty, gutsy thrills, wrapped up in a silent but deadly package. While it may not be my favorite film of the year, it’s individuality and stylistic vitality have made a mark on me as a viewer and as a filmmaker.
5 out of 10