‘The Next 365 Days’ Is Netflix’s Worst Film, Hot Sex Be Damned
It’s been so long since the days when I’d stay up late at a friend’s house, seeing if we could make out anything on their cable box’s scrambled Playboy channel, that I had forgotten that softcore porn is really boring.
I was reminded of this, however, while watching Netflix’s The Next 365 Days, the third film in a trilogy that has been referred to as the “Polish 50 Shades of Grey.” It’s easily the worst entry in a series that has produced increasingly diminishing returns. That says a lot, considering the low point at which this all started: a movie that made headlines about how raunchy the sex scenes were and its glorification of sexual violence, grooming, and rape.
The first 365 Days film centered around a Sicilian crime boss named Massimo (Michele Morrone), who kidnaps a Polish woman named Laura (Anna-Maria Sieklucka) and imprisons her for 365 days, during which he pledges to force her to fall in love with him. He sexually terrorizes and intimidates her until, lo and behold, one day they have kinky sex—which they then do constantly until the movie ends. 365 Days’ sex scenes were blush-inducingly long, athletic, and rough, to the point that they went viral on TikTok; viewers would post videos of themselves reacting to the sequences for the first time.
The movie was obviously problematic, lending a dark tenor to its giggly social-media popularity. But it was also so over-the-top, soapy, and terribly acted that it became the kind of trash we occasionally grant ourselves permission to sheepishly indulge in.
There were plenty of people who thought it was irresponsible for Netflix to give the movie a sequel, given the triggering nature of its violent sexual content. But there were even more who were unsurprised: The movie was a hit. Of course the streamer was going to make new installments.
That first sequel came out just this spring, a little less than two years after the original film. Entitled 365 Days: This Day, it centered around, quite inexplicably, Massimo and Laura’s wedding and life as a married couple. Yes, those two, with that background, got married. There is also a hot gardener, a secret identical twin, a bounty hunt, and a deadly shootout. The movie was horrendous—neither cheeky enough to be camp, nor salacious enough to be escapist—but at least it had those wild plot twists to keep your attention.
The Next 365 Days doesn’t even have those.
The third outing, arriving just four months after the second, finds Laura in a love triangle and struggling to identify what she wants from her life, after finally realizing that her marriage to Massimo is toxic and unhealthy in just about every way. (Go figure!) Meanwhile, her crush on the previously mentioned hot gardener, Nacho (Simone Sussina), intensifies. (This is the 365 Days Cinematic Universe; crushes present as impressively aerobic sex in a cycle of about a dozen positions.) He capitalizes on Laura’s trust issues to hopefully drive her and Massimo apart.
As far as steamy love triangles go, The Next 365 Days can’t find a way to make this interesting. It’s an entire movie (nearly two hours!) in which absolutely nothing happens.
On the one hand, it might seem pointless to seriously critique this movie, for which quality and serious attention were never an ambition. Any piling on could be perceived as trying to shame anyone’s enjoyment of the film as a horny lark. Sometimes, it’s just fun to watch some hot people fuckin’. But that’s what is so frustrating about The Next 365 Days: It’s not fun at all. A movie that ranks among the most-watched titles on the world’s biggest streaming service because we’re all pervy looky-loos has no business being this much of a snooze.
The movie itself is less a coherent film than it is a patchwork of cheesy montages set to corny pop ballads that, at best, could be called “music-adjacent.” The sex scenes, while gratifyingly long and plentiful, are shot and lit so that it is impossible to really decipher what is happening within the tangle of moaning bodies—and therefore, most disappointingly, be truly turned on.
I would go so far as to say that even the wild sex becomes monotonous. But that would be a disservice to a surprise sequence toward the end of the film, in which Laura fantasizes about having a bisexual threesome with both Massimo and Nacho. The actors make out for a bit while laying shirtless on top of her. It was indisputably hot. Boys kissing! We stan!
We’ve moved far enough from the series’ eyebrow-raising, rapey origin that we want to be able to celebrate The Next 365 Days on its own terms, as a silly soap opera sudsing with sex and nudity. If there is one thing to be passionate about, it is having more butts on TV. As someone who may have done damage to his corneas attempting to decipher what was happening in those scrambled Playboy series all those late nights so many years ago, the fact that this franchise is available on a streaming service alongside seasons of Fuller House is the kind of progress I can get behind. We all strive for a better future for younger generations, after all.
Am I asking for the moon here? All I want is to turn on my computer or TV and be able to watch good-looking people have passionate sex, shot in a way that is both hot and aesthetically pleasing.
Porn. It turns out I am talking about porn.
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