The Nameless Days., according to the text crawl that opens the film, were five days in the Aztec calendar that weren’t assigned to a month and didn’t have a name. It was said that on those five days the dead could once again walk the Earth.
Rahui (Alejandro Akara, Mayans M.C., No One Gets Out Alive) and his pregnant sister Gabriela (Echo Boomers, Ashley Marian Ramos) are being smuggled into the United States when they run into some Mexican Border Agents and get separated. Nicole (Ally Ioannides, Into the Badlands, Synchronic) lives on a small farm with her father. She’s conflicted over an offer from her uncle to get her into a private school in San Diego, her father Charlie (Charles Halford, Constantine, Bad Times at the El Royale) doesn’t approve of course.
Written and directed by Andrew Mecham and Matthew Whedon, the team who also made Behind You, start The Nameless Days off slow, almost painfully slow. We barely see Rahui or his sister and the film revolves around Nicole and her issues with her drunken loser of a father. It’s not until the half-hour mark that anything remotely exciting happens. Then after a break-in at the ranch, Charlie and his buddy Wade (Trey Warner, The Christmas Project Reunion, Riot) go looking for the intruder and find the Mexican cops we saw earlier dead and disembowelled.
You might think that The Nameless Days would take off after that discovery. And it somewhat does as Nicole finds the injured Rahui and offers to help him. And then a bit later a group of random border crossers is slaughtered, off-screen of course, by the demon. And I must say that seen mostly in silhouette as it approaches in the darkness the creature, a Coaxoch, the spirit of a woman who died in childbirth and now looks for babies to steal and eat, is rather creepy looking.
And before anyone mentions low budgets and limited money for effects, I understand that a film like The Nameless Days won’t have its creature on view the majority of the time. But since the Coaxoch is stunt woman Ambyr Mishelle in a suit they could have shot a quick insert or two of her to offset the early chatter. and if for some reason that wasn’t an option, there’s no reason not to have POV shots, an unseen presence prowling in the darkness, etc. instead of killing time with father/daughter drama.
That’s not to say that The Nameless Days doesn’t have its moments. There are several scenes that work up some atmosphere and scares once the plot decides to stop talking and do something. The outdoor scenes, especially around the ruins where Gabriela is hiding have a creepy vibe to them, there’s just not nearly enough of them.
Unfortunately, The Nameless Days even undercuts that by having them find Gabriela after she’s given birth, but with not a drop of blood or any mess to be seen. The attempt to humanize Charlie via the sudden revelation of a most improbable connection between their family and the creature just made me roll my eyes. And if that doesn’t have the same effect on you, the final twist will.
Despite an interesting premise and some visual flair, The Nameless Days can’t overcome a dull, talky script that relies on improbabilities and underuses interesting characters like Wade’s folklorist friend Carlos (Michael Wright). Even Gabriela who, as the infant’s mother, should be a central part of the plot is barely on screen, only there to provide a baby and look scared.
Vertical Entertainment has released The Nameless Days to theatres and to Digital and VOD platforms.