Written and Directed by Dan Rickard
Starring Dan Rickard, Chris Wandell and Samantha Bolter
Run Time 90 minutes
UK DVD release May 25th from Left Films.
A man wakes up on the beach, he seems disorientated. While making his way back through the deserted town he spots two looters, trying to get their attention to find out what is going on, they mistake him for an ‘Infected’ and leg it, the man (writer/director Dan Rickard) catches up with them just in time for one of them to get killed by a real infected person. Dan and the surviving looter then hot foot it to their town house refuge.
From this point on the narrative takes a nose dive, in the house we discover a group of forgettable people none of which have any likeable qualities, some of them could win awards for stating the obvious and all of them seem oblivious to the importance of the danger around them.They basically spend the first half of the film sitting on the couch reading books, drinking beer and eating ketchup from a bottle, I felt as if I was back at university baked out of my brain looking at my flatmates but these guys are less interesting.
Inspired largely from 28 Day Later and its sequel Dan delivers a homage to the infected genre but sadly it doesn’t quite deliver, the premise is there, but if falls just short. The narrative did lose itself and its goal seemed to diminish from sight. What key plot developments arose were not well planned and didn’t help the overall film. The acting is not good and there doesn’t appear to much urgency and no character development, only one performance stands above the others, that of Kate, portrayed by Samantha Bolter. Sadly though I felt it difficult to feel any allegiance towards the cast and for those that die, I didn’t really mourn their demise.
There are some elements of comedy but they provide very few laughs, One guy, I forget his name, seems more interested with food and does have some comedy screen time but his character didn’t quite fulfil its potential. Those cast as military personnel obviously went to the Star Wars Stormtrooper School of Incompetence and the Infected people, who in the credits are labelled as Zombies,where blatantly given the following direction – ‘Run that way waving your arms and growl!’ they do this to the point of looking silly but towards the end there is some lovely flesh eating activity again showing that the effects are top notch.
Darkest Day has so many plot devises, conspiracy, survival, outbreak of infection but non of them are explored or explained enough and none take ownership over the film. A little less time spent on seeing the cast sitting on their arses drinking beer and add a few more scenes of plot elaboration and the film would have been a lot better.
The cinematography is great and is reminiscent of Oliver Wood (The Bourne Identity / Supremacy /Ultimatum), it is executed well and heightens the intensity of action scenes.
I would like to point out that it is an achievement to have do what Dan Rickard has done, he has made a feature length film and obtained a release. For an independent filmmaker this will always be a success. I can honestly say that the visuals and sound are of a reasonable to high quality and the special effects are extremely well executed. Its evident that Rickard’s talents lie in post production, sadly they do not lie in writing or acting nor do they stretch to the job of picking other actors.
Again we must not forget that this is a low to no budget production and it does look and sound a lot better then the majority that fall in to the same bracket. Being this is Dan Rickard’s first outing as director, hopefully it will act as a learning curve and he’ll improve, his effects work is already superb will definitely continue to impress in further projects.
I score this film 2.5 out of 10, the effects are great but the story is very underwhelming.