November 25, 2012

Filthy Review - 'The Day'

The Day (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

Upon doing a little research on The Day, I discovered that it is in fact the middle segment of a planned trilogy. Whether this is true or not, and whether it will see the light as a full trilogy remains to be seen, but after watching the film it does make sense as there is plenty to be expanded upon in this post-apocalyptic tale.

Coming at us from Anchor Bay and WWE Studios I was, admittedly, half expecting a vehicle for one of the WWE’s wrestlers, which more often than not don’t turn out too well. It did come as a surprise then that there are no canvas-slapping warriors to be seen anywhere in The Day. What we get instead is a very dark and bleak film that plays out as a bastard hybrid of Assault on Precinct 13, The Road (2009) and Doomsday.

We join the action, or initial lack of, with five survivors of an apocalyptic event that has left the planet a cold and desolate place. Food is sparse and survival is paramount as they trek across the countryside seeking refuge. Eventually they come across an abandoned farmhouse, one that seems too good to be true; with a stash of food hidden away in the basement. Well, we all know that when something is too good to be true it usually is.

What plays out then is a post-apocalyptic siege movie, in which loyalties are tested and trust between the group members is frayed to the put of non-existence.

The Day is a very dark film, both visually with its washed out palette and with the subject matter and execution of it. It starts off very slowly, with little happening in the first twenty minutes or so, but does suddenly spring into life with a short, sharp snap of brutality, and it is this brutality they prevails throughout the remaining running time of the film.

Having watched The Day I am actually quite eager to see the story expanded, both before the start of this film, and to see it continued as The Day leaves events wide open to be expanded on. That is not to say that The Day doesn’t work in its own right, as it does, but it is quite obvious that there is a bigger picture waiting to be explored.

The cast are all effective in their roles, with Ashley Bell’s Mary probably being the stand-out, although it was hard to feel any empathy towards them. In the situation in which they find themselves we really should be feeling something, but I was left fairly cold. I really wasn’t too concerned who lived or died, although the film did manage to surprise me on more than one occasion. Any film that forces a “holy shit” from my mouth during its running time is definitely doing something right.

Whereas the visuals were bleak, and the cast slightly soulless, the accompanying score was a definite high point of the film. It fitted the action quite perfectly and was one of the more effective scores I have heard in recent years. Credit must be given to Rock Mafia for delivering the goods in this department.

As for the film itself, director Doug Aarniokoski definitely has the eye for bleak, and has delivered a brutally dark tale. I would have liked to have seen it fleshed out a little more, even if there are more movies planned in this story, it would have been nice to have seen more than the odd flashback in which to develop more of a rapport with the characters.

Overall though, The Day was a moderately entertaining movie. I definitely liked the oppressively dark feel to it, the visuals and some of the violence was wonderfully executed. However, its pacing and lack of answers to some of its questions bore more frustration than anything else. I would probably give The Day a rental before committing to buy.

The Day is released on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and DVD on November 27th by Anchor Bay Entertainment.

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