It may be the holiday season as the spirit of giving and generosity is in the air, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t enough time in the day for some post-apocalyptic carnage for us to be able to truly appreciate what we have.
In The Day, a lonely group of five people working to stay alive in a post-apocalyptic future discover what they think is a safe, abandoned farmhouse, but they soon find themselves fighting to stay alive as a gang of bloodthirsty predators attack. With their food and ammo dwindling, the group has to make one desperate last stand for their survival and for the last remnants of their own humanity that they struggle to hold on to each and every day.
With his first feature effort in ten years after serving as a second unit director to the likes of Robert Rodriguez and Terry Gilliam, director Doug Aarniokoski has lensed a stunningly bleak world. Framing the bulk of the action was a nice touch, as this simple setup mostly worked due to some quality visuals and solid execution painting a desolate and downright scary world from minute one. The narrative was incredibly basic, but to the filmmakers credit any real exposition got kept to a bare minimum so as not to get too distracting from the overall bleakness that the film tries to get across. It never really hits you over the head with it, rather it just is what is; a rag tag group of people trying to survive by any means necessary. Working on a fairly low-key level, the ensemble cast, while reasonably solid, never really does anything to help this rise above middle of the road.
Co-producers and co-stars Dominic Monaghan and Shawn Ashmore lead the motley group of survivors well enough, but the character development and a reason to actually care about these characters got glossed over pretty darn quick in favor of the story unfolding. Ashley Bell was decent doing her best Milla Jovovich impression, but Michael Eklund as our bad guy was wasted and Shannyn Sossamon added nothing other than being skinny and statuesque. Nobody embarrassed themselves in any shape or form, but caring about what happens to your characters in a post-apocalyptic wasteland is usually a nice touch to make the audiences give a damn about what is going on, and that just isn’t here in this film.
While The Day is certainly passable psychological horror fare, there is truly nothing about it that makes it stand out and it’s actually a little dull.
Special features on the DVD include a feature length audio commentary track with director Doug Aarniokoski, writer Luke Passmore and producer Guy A Danella.
Cast: Dominic Monaghan, Shawn Ashmore, Ashley Bell
Directed by: Doug Aarniokoski