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Compelling post-apocalyptic horror in 'The Day',
This review is from: The Day [DVD] (DVD)
At Glasgow Frightfest, I was excited about and had the privilege of seeing The Day, a postapocalyptic horror movie that stars recognisable actors such as Dominic Monaghan (Lord of the Rings, I Sell the Dead), Cory Hardricht and Shannyn Sossamon (One Missed Call, Catacombs) and from the looks of the trailer, it was right up my street.
Although the synopsis appears to be standard horror fayre, it is quite deceptive in its simplicity. The Day has at its heart, the choices people will make when faced with extreme situations and the lengths they will go to in order to protect their own interests. Base and higher level emotions are at play here: survival, love, mistrust, redemption and hunger...
For me, one of the major thrusts of the film was what motivated the cannibals and their potential prey; they both sought to survive in the face of near-certain annihilation and protect their own interests... but went about this in very different ways.
The inevitable assault on the farmhouse, alluded to in the synopsis, put me in mind of John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13 and added a greater degree of dread to proceedings as the near anonymous assailants began their attempts to overcome the building's defences.
Alongside Monaghan and Sossamon is Shawn Ashmore. Best known for his role as Iceman in the X-Men franchise, Ashmore is carving himself quite the niche as a genre actor (Solstice, The Ruins, Frozen, 2010's Mother's Day) and puts in an almost unrecognisable turn as Adam, bulked up, bearded and a mile away from the fresh-faced Iceman of X-Men.
Directed by Douglas Aarniokoski (who has worked on directorial duties on horrors such as: The Faculty, From Dusk Till Dawn, Howling VI)and written by Luke Passmore, The Day is suitably bleak and the setting is reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Some may not be entirely happy with the almost monochrome cinematography but for me, it was in keeping with the tone of the film.
The standout performance in The Day comes from Ashley Bell (The Last Exorcism) as Mary, the enigmatic member of the survivors whose background is revealed as the film progresses, along with her reticence at divulging the details of her past. Bell delivers a suitably tough yet vulnerable performance and is convincing in the role, moving seamlessly from woman with a troubled past to kick-ass heroine in seconds.
Critically, I had an issue with the CG blood during some of the more brutal scenes but mark what I say, these scenes are indeed brutal. Some have criticised the film's use of torture but to my mind, this only serves to reinforce the lengths people are prepared to go to when in desparate situations.
The Day succeeds where many horrors fail and balances admirably a character driven plot with enough violence and brutality to satisfy gorehounds.