What You’ll Like:
- Interesting cinematography style
- Some decent kills
- Potentially intriguing plot twists
What You May Not:
- Simplistic plot and paper-thin characters
- Mostly cheesy low budget CGI effects
- Lame villains
- Potential plot twists really go nowhere
What You’ll Remember:
- Dominic Managhan is in it… kind of…
The Day is a post-apocalyptic survival thriller that recently got a blu-ray release despite having been originally released to limited audiences in 2011 straight to DVD. It is mostly your run of the mill survival film about a group of five nomadic young adult 20-somethings in a post apocalypse American rural state; when they come across an abandoned house they seek to make shelter in it and hope to find something to eat. Once there a trap ensnares them which alarms a separate “villainous” (and I really use that term loosely) bunch led by other surprisingly well-kept 20-somethings who seem to have much more up their sleeve than they really do. Soon enough the plot is merely about this group who must fight off a series of cardboard cannibals in order to survive that very night.
The Day opens in an interesting fashion, never letting the audience know what exactly caused the world these people live in or what is really going on, or who anyone is; all we are given is that it’s been this way for over 10 years and their small group of five was killed down from a former dozen. Doing post-apocalypse without explanation is fine and dandy, but only if the story at hand holds up. The film throws a few potentially interesting plot twists our way and shows that perhaps not everyone in this small group can be trusted. The intrigue this causes during some heated dialogue by no-name actor Shawn Ashmore (who seems to really genuinely try his best here) as Adam with a female lead he is almost about to torture. This is simply one of a good count of well directed scenes that would have the ability to lead to something more grand and deep, but ultimately doesn’t considering the film is really only about this one overnight shootout. After this interesting opening the film really seems to run low on any more good script ideas.
What ensues is a bunch of paper-thin characters shooting crazies from inside a house to survive. These leads lose real believability considering how much they force swearing into their vocabulary in The Day’s dialogue; this proves that doing something too much makes it weaker and it ultimately loses its force as swear words feel just too shoehorned in here. They sound as if they’re just uttering their memorized curse word lines to sound pissed off rather than truly feeling it, making the characters resemble cardboard cutouts than anyone we’re really ever invested in. This is not even to mention the villains, who have no story attached to them whatsoever (despite one desperate stab of a plot device about some kind of culty tattoo skin symbol that goes absolutely nowhere), show no real threat, and are perhaps some of the most poorly written antagonists you’ll see in indie films. Still, the plot itself tends to keep things interesting considering the situation and circumstances, and on that note, The Day doesn’t really bore. Cheesy CGI blood, lame lines, typical action cliche conveniences tie up all loose ends. And what really catches your eyes despite the very average and very short (80 minutes) length is the interesting cinematography of keeping everything in a very grey tone throughout, only adding real color for random objects like tables and mugs, or blood, which are given a very muggy yellow/orange look. The point being that the color scheme most likely represents hopelessness and despair.
The Day is really only worth your money at a cheap price, I’d say no more than like $8, so it’s a good thing the current sale price (at the time of this writing at least) is $9.99. Yes, it keeps your attention, but not because of film elements that really matter, but instead for solely superficial reasons. Not completely horrible or unwatchable, as some ideas here and there show good potential for future projects for this director. Perhaps with a bigger budget and more investment with the filmmakers, The Day could have been something substantial to today’s experienced movie-goer. Considering the ending, The Day feels to have no real point in existing. Yet as a start in terms of technical filmmaking, The Day shows promise. I’d say an average score of 2 out of 4, but even that’s being a little forgiving.
Graphics and Sound:
Picture is pretty good, but throughout you may notice a light fuzz layer of distortion. While this is really only noticed perhaps on bigger TV sets, the HD transfer is not fully clean, but simply passable. Sound quality is OK for the most part. Volume is set a bit too low so be prepared to turn it up. Effects are not all too strong and for the most part fairly tinny throughout. Considering the budget, it’s no real surprise.
One trailer. That’s it. What is interesting is that the cinematography for the trailer actually has more color than the film itself. You see blues, reds and blacks that you never see in those same scenes in the movie. This is perhaps due to the filmmakers deciding that to market an almost black and white film would not be the best public relations move. But really, how many people actually saw this anyway?