Running Time: 87 minutes
Starring: Shawn Ashmore, Brianna Barnes, Shannyn Sossamon, Ashley Bell, Michael Eklund, Dominic Monaghan, Cory Hardrict
Directed By: Douglas Aarniokoski
Rating: 5 out of 10
A group of human survivors try to find a place of safety in an apocalyptic world.
A day seems like a relatively short period of time, but when you are battling for your life, it can seem like an eternity. The Day is the story of the world in an apocalyptic state. 5 people band together and try and survive the packs of vicious roaming predators. An abandoned farmhouse promises a brief respite as they traverse the land, but it may end up as their grave as the enemy closes in.
Post apocalyptic themed movies seem to be the new flavor of the month. It seems with the Mayan end of the world prediction; Hollywood took advantage of the opportunity and cranked out some films on the subject. The film starts out and we see a small town ravaged by some unknown cause. Cars lie abandoned on the street, houses are empty and their windows are smashed in, and blood is causally splattered all over the place. It is a world devoid of life and the remaining humans lay low and keep to themselves. There is an unknown terror that has abnormal strength/quickness, and it craves meat. The film follows five humans (Adam, Shannon, Mary, Rick, and Henson) as they try and survive. Circumstances arise that forces them to stop at an abandoned farm house for a while. The film is pretty slow to start out as we get to know each of the players. What I liked about the opening half was the bleakness of the land. A lot of the film is shot in black and white or with little color. It causes the viewer to think of depressing thoughts and prepares them for some violence of the worst kind. It is also cool that the viewer is unsure about what is stalking these people. It could be anything from vampires to rabid sloths, and it is cool not knowing the actual danger. The only thing the viewer does know is that whatever is out there, are some truly bad Mofos.
The acting is passable as it is quite a veteran cast. Dominic Monaghan, Shawn Ashmore, Shannyn Sossamon, and Ashley Bell all have done this before. They are a veteran cast that settles into their roles quite easily. They bicker, they argue, and the struggle to remain positive in a world with no hope. Their weapons are insufficient, their supplies are dwindling, and their nerves are shot. Even though it is a strange group and a somewhat clichéd group, you will root for them to survive. I felt the group look disheveled, they look run down, and they even looked a little desperate. However, they were not gaunt enough to completely buy into the desperate scenario. All in all, the characters and acting were decent enough, even if their background stories were forced on the viewer to try and give an emotional attachment (it didn’t work.)
As the film progresses, it turns out this farmhouse might be the end of the road for these five. What was at first a welcome respite from all the wearisome walking, now may serve as their gravesite. Their presence is known to the evil that stalks the land and they have little choice on what to do. They can either run and be hunted like sheep, or they can stand their ground and try and fight. This is where the movie gets confusing. It is in the bad guys themselves that ultimately lost me as a supporter of the film. The ambiguity of the terror that stalks the land is puzzling. Are these unkempt bad people supposed to be vampires? Or are they people suffering from a terrible disease? Or are they people that Amanda Bynes has slept with over the last year? They don’t explain it at all, which was the wrong call in my mind. With reckless abandon, these monsters of the new world descend on the farmhouse for some human flesh snacking. This is also confusing as they have little self preservation skills and make the dumbest decisions possible. For a race that now rules the world, they have no problem sticking their heads in random holes, run at armed people with no thought to protecting themselves, and seem to make the wrong choice on how to attack 100 percent of the time. It got a little stupid after a few minutes. The action sequences are good even if the special effects are not the best. CGI blood spray and gaping wounds are easily spotted and look cheap and hurried. The action is furious and graphic though, so if you like lots of bodies piling up due to horrific injuries, then this film has that in bulk. When your life is on the line you tend to stab and cut with more power than is necessary so be prepared for that. The struggle for survival is upon them, and as the film comes to a close it won’t be a question of will they all make it, more a question of will any of them make it. In conclusion, I liked the black and white hue on the film and I liked the characters even in their simplicity. I liked that the battle for their lives was violent and bloody. I didn’t like the bad guys as I felt they had no thought to their design. I also felt this film was rather low budget to pull off some of the scenes. I was entertained but ultimately not blown away by this film.
Director Douglas Aarniokoski (Seriously, shorten that last name to Aarn) does a commendable job with this film. With a higher budget and some slight tweaking, this film could have worked. I liked the landscape, the cast, and the bleakness to the film. The film lacks a lot of fine detail which is the saddest part. I was impressed with the overall product on such a small budget though, and he certainly will be one to watch.
I cannot recommend this film as it is a poor mans, The Road.
T Factor + If you like low budget horror then this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you need great special effects in your movies then this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: The Road, The Divide.