‘The Day of the Lord’ is a Spanish language horror film that is supposed to be the first entry in the proposed movie series ‘Menendez’. It came out as part of Netflix’s Halloween 2020 collection. Directed by Santiago Alvarado Ilarri, the film tells the story of a retired priest named Menendez (Juli Fàbregas), who is tormented by the guilt of his past actions. One day, a friend visits him and asks for his help with his daughter, who he claims has become possessed by a demon. Reluctant at first, Menendez eventually agrees to help the young girl, hoping that it will lead to his redemption. SPOILERS AHEAD!
The Day of the Lord Plot Synopsis
Menendez lives alone in an old and ramshackle house. He struggles every day to hold on to the last remnants of his faith. Someone regularly calls him on his landline, asking about his wellbeing. A woman named Marisa (Dolores Heredia) visits his home to check up on him every week. It is revealed that he had performed an exorcism on Marisa’s son, and although he eventually forced the demon to leave the boy’s body, the young child died in the process. Menendez has since been plagued by nightmares about the incident.
One day, an old friend named Sebastián (Hector Illanes) shows up at his doorstep. He tells the erstwhile priest that his daughter Raquel (Ximena Romo) is possessed and asks for Menendez’s help. He claims that he has gone to everyone else, from physicians to therapists, but no one has been able to help her. Menendez warns him that his methods are brutal, and Sebastián should not want his daughter to go through that.
Sebastián replies that it will be better for his daughter to die and be with God than to live and be with the Devil. After enough contemplation, Menendez agrees to serve the Lord and bring back Raquel from the clutches of the demon. Menendez is hopeful that saving his friend Sebastián’s girl, Raquel, will bring him redemption for his failure with Marisa’s son.
The Day of the Lord Ending
Not long after, Raquel moves into Menendez’s house. At first, she appears like any other rebellious teenager who has been forced to do something against their wishes. Menendez secretly conducts experiments on her to see if she is possessed by a demon and discovers that a malevolent being is certainly using her as a host. On Sunday, also known as Lord’s Day, lending the film its name, he calls Sebastián from Raquel’s phone and tells him to come to his house so that he can help him with the exorcism.
The previous few days have tested the patience and virtue of the former priest. Immediately after his arrival, Raquel (or the demon within her) is crass and abusive. When that doesn’t work, she tries seduction, which ends when Menendez knocks her out, takes her to the basement and ties her up. When he begins torturing her to purge her soul of the demonic influence, her tone changes again. Now, she is a victim of terrible abuse. It leaves a deep impact on Menendez as well, as he fears that this attempt might also result in the death of the person he is trying to save.
When Sebastián arrives, the two go down to the basement to pull the demon out of the girl. But it plays a victim perfectly and convinces Raquel’s father to release her. While passed out, Menendez has a vision of himself, dressed up in clerical attire, and wearing the mask of a plague doctor. After he regains consciousness, he finally realizes it is the same demon he dealt with all those years ago. The demon that now inhabits Raquel’s body once plagued Marisa and her son. The demon taunts the priest by saying that he failed to save the boy’s soul, and he has ended up in hell with them.
Magnifying what Menendez considers the greatest failure of his life, the demon tortures its old enemy, well aware that the former priest hasn’t forgiven himself for it. Sebastián manages to knock Raquel out with a fire extinguisher. He and Menendez then bind her with the chains from the time of the Inquisition. As Menendez explains, the chains contain the suffering of all the possessed souls, which will be painful for the demon. They then complete the exorcism, forcing it to take a physical form for the first time, appearing as Menendez.
After Sebastián leaves with his daughter, the demon shows his true form and attempts to attack Menendez. With a makeshift cross, he manages to defeat it. Although Raquel is free from the demonic influence, she is going to remember all the horrible things she did. Her life will never be normal again, nor will her relationship with her father. The demon forced them to go to a place where a father-and-daughter relationship should never venture, and it has likely left permanent scars on both of them.
Who Is on the Other End of the Call?
Throughout the film, Menendez gets these phone calls on his landline, seemingly from a well-wisher. The closing scenes reveal that the phone’s cable is severed. The biggest mystery of ‘The Day of the Lord’ is the identity of this caller. Considering this fictional world is filled with supernatural beings, we can safely assume that these calls actually happen and are not just a figment of Menendez’s imagination.
Whatever it is, it seems benevolent. The way in which Menendez communicates with it, indicates that he thinks it’s divine. Either way, if Netflix’s plan of making a series out of this film does come to fruition, this question will likely be answered in the sequel.
Read More: Is The Day of the Lord a True Story?