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2.8 out of 5 stars
Viking - The Darkest Day [DVD]
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2014
Whilst this film clearly has a low budget it doesn't over stretch it's self and it does what it does very well. It has strong acting and costumes. The film is mostly set in woodland so we aren't subjected to any unconvincing sets. I would recommend this film to anyone who enjoyed films like Ironclad (2011) or the Black Death (2010). I would definitely watch this one again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Disgusting film, the worst part was the raping of the monk, and to tell you the truth I turned it off after that, and I must admit this is a rare occasion for me, I always give films a chance, but that was to much for me, plus I could not give a flying F*** how it ended. The only positive thing I can say, it only cost me £5 pounds, but still one of the worst films I have brought. Oh and the picture quality is just awful.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2014
What a thrilling find this one was. After recently watching (if that's the right expression) 'Hammer of the Gods' and finding it one of the worst films I've ever had the misfortune to witness, I was hesitant to return so quickly to the 'Viking' genre, except this isn't strictly speaking a Viking film, they are in it, in fact they are the bad guys chasing our hero down but the hero's themselves are Anglo-Saxon (Englisc/Anglecynn are actually how our English ancestors described themselves, the term 'Anglo-Saxon' coming later into popular usage.) Straight away, this fact sets 'Darkest Day' apart from the bargain-bin two-bob horned Viking films out there.

We join a young Monk named Hereward (Marc Pickering), his older tutor named Father Æthelstsan (Christopher Godwin) and a grizzled Wessex warrior going by the name Æthelwulf (Mark Lewis Jones) - who all give excellent performances, as they protect the Lindisfarne Gospels on the journey to Iona after the Norse have ransacked the Northumbrian island in 793, heralding the beginning of the 'Viking age' on this island of Britain.

The opening statement of the film is actually a mistake, although an understandable one - one version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles does indeed give the date for the attack on Lindisfarne as 8th January 793, although most experts such as Michael Swanton, see this as 8th July 793 which would have made for calmer sailing conditions on the North Sea, and is also the date given in the 'Annals of Lindisfarne'.
The opening scene itself is ethereal and sceince-fiction like with an eerie, otherworldly feel as the naked and sobbing monks are herded by the Nordic incomers.

This is basically a 'chase' movie, as our three hero's are followed by a vicious Viking death squad, intent on capturing the priceless book. This film pulls no punches, there is a brutal rape and murder scene and a brilliantly disturbing one of Christ coming off the cross with his crown of thorns to tell young Hereward to ''become my wrath''. This film certainly feels authentic in terms of dialogue, costuming, and storyline and is a blessed relief compared to the aforementioned 'Hammer of the Gods' and the numerous other efforts of this genre which are hardly fit to be mentioned alongside this one.

Our small band are joined by an attractive Pictish woman (the Picts lived in northern Britain before the Scots invaded from Ireland - keep up at the back!), and also encounter a 'Christian' party in the wilds who are obviously still influenced hugely by the pre-Christ beliefs, which is a nice touch as there would still have been many pagans or heathens amongst the ordinary folk at this time in the late 700's.
What sets 'Darkest Day' apart is that it is not simply pro-heathen/pagan, as is popular at the minute, nor is it pro-Christian - at least not the kind of snivelling, pious, turn-the-other-cheek Christianity. As our brave warrior Æthelwulf says, ''Does this not resemble the cross?'' as he thumps his sword into the soil, showing the cross shaped pommel. ''There are many ways to serve Christ, boy''.

Indeed, I was impressed by the complex religious issue's touched upon in the often contradictory Church history of England, especially the role the iron sword played in first converting the English/Saxons and then uniting them against a common foe in the pagan Danes and Norse.
I would go as far as to say young Hereward represents the English resistance to the Danes - weak and unsure at first after being taken by surprise, but quickly adapting to the threat and showing resolve to unite the land and repel the invaders. The end scene, where Hereward raises his sword and urges his followers to destroy the Viking longships coming into view on the ocean will get your blood pumping, that's for sure!

This film achieves what it sets out to do - tell a story from the oft-neglected Anglo-Saxon point of view and would be enjoyed by those who liked '1066-Battle for Middle Earth' and also another low-budget film set in the same period named 'Severed Ways' which also touches upon competing religious and social beliefs, from the Norse point of view in Vinland, North America. If you're interested in this time period, 'Darkest Day' is a very good bet.

One minor problem which I blame on the marketing people rather than the director (Chris Crow), and that is the DVD cover - why o' why do they feel the need to put 'Viking' in such large letters and show a massed army in the background - all this achieves is attracting the wrong crowd who expect a big-budget 'Braveheart/300' film and end up disappointed and confused by a much smaller but much more intelligent and authentic story.
If the story is good enough, the film will sell but when it is marketed to the wrong crowd, it will get unfair criticism and end up in the bargain-bin alongside 'Hammer of the Gods' (damn, mentioned it again!).
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2014
Now the first thing to say is forget what you see on the cover. Why or who, never mind the WHAT produced a cover that has nothing to do with the film. Apart from the main figure who in the film is not a very nice Viking at all. This film is for its cost very well shot, uses people and setting to the maximun effect. It is no Gladiator, its not meant to be. It tells a story of how when the "men from the sea" came calling to what was one of our most important holly sites, and what happened. For those of you who want dragons and vast cgi armys doing battle with hordes of monsters cascading down from a volcano.....this aint for you.
If you want a well filmed, well acted and strong character film were people have actually thought about this important story and I for one think has deliverd that story then enjoy it.
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on 21 July 2015
I really liked this film there have been a few made the last few years and this is one of the best vikings land in Britain looking for relics everything in theyer path is killed raped and taken a young priest is thrust into the middle of it and needs to fight to survive the scenery is good the story good it has a lot of British actors in it highly recommended.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 26 December 2013
I know this film was made on a shoestring budget, as it was made by my nephew, and I was most impressed with the atmosphere and
the story told was pretty accurate. I would recommend it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 24 April 2014
A very boring , low budget film , filmed in half an acre of the same foggy wood and very poor acting:(
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 26 February 2014
I was disappointed as I expected high action and epic cinematography. However, the storyline was weak and very slow moving and the film direction and setting made for a boring hour and a half. The actors did their best with the poor script but I can't recommend it on any level.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 27 December 2013
I found this unwatchable. Nothing but gratuitous violence and gore, and shot entirely in black and white. I stuck about 15 minutes of this before realising it wasn't going to improve.It wasn't even filmed in Lindisfarne, but in South Wales apparently. What a turkey.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2014
What an absolute piece of nonsensical rubbish - save your money folks - this is worthless poorly acted and poorly directed crap.
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