Open war against humanity rages. 5 survivors; lost and on the run. The pursuit is relentless, the bullets are dwindling and the battle is everywhere. This is a 24hr look into their lives. Fight or die.
From a movie reviewers perspective I absolutely love innocuous film titles. Nothing gets me mad more than a movie that gives it all away in the title! Things like “Night of the Living Dead”, “Dracula”, and “Twilight” all give you hints as to what it’s about. Obviously Zombies will walk and night, a vampire named Dracula will suck you dry, and the last will just suck… either way there is a tell. The Day is one of those movies that by just hearing its name you do not know what to expect. It could be a day at the spa or a day at Disney. It could be a sunny day or even a day that is cloudy with a chance meatballs. This movie allows you to approach it without any assumptions or expectations. The world is its oyster and The Day is that precious little pearl inside.
Very few movies grab you as fast as this one does. I believe it is in part by the non-assuming title which allows you to watch it with an open mind. We open by watching Adam get out of his car to enter a house. He leaves his beautiful wife and deaf daughter behind in the car with the explicit instructions to alert him if they see anything. At first you think, “Ok – he’s gonna rob this joint!” then you see him whip out a baseball bat with a giant railroad spike shoved through it! This cat means serious business. The house is positively trashed. Adam is apparently too late. In the upstairs bedroom there is a lot of blood so whoever lived here didn’t have such a good time. The frantic honk of the horn drives Adam to his car but by the time he gets to it it’s too late. His wife and daughter are gone; dragged out through a broken window by an unknown assailant or assailants. Adam is scared; frightened to the core.
The Day fast forwards to an undetermined time in the near future and we find Adam in a small group of people. We still have no clue what’s going on but whatever it is it is very, very bad. There is no food and there doesn’t seem to be any people around either. They have guns, knives, and very little ammo. This group of survivors or outcasts is ready to fight no matter what but they do their best to keep to back roads. With the doom and gloom of the day one of their members is very sick and they need to get to a dry area where they can be safe and he can rest and improve if but slightly. An old house sits abandoned; left to rot away still full of the previous occupant’s things including creepy baby dolls. It is here that we learn three of the group grew up together and the two women were just picked up along their travels. We also come to find out that their group used to much, much larger. This world is hard.
After about 30 minutes we still have no idea what the hell is going on! Zombies? Aliens? H1N1? Your guess is as good as mine! The only people who know what’s what are these poor bastards. One thing is certainly clear from frame one of The Day and that is whatever it is there is a profound fear and they have all resolved to die here in this house if they don’t move right away. The sick friend is getting worse. The girls are getting bitchy. Adam is caught stroking a decapitated doll’s plastic head. The way that The Day is shot allows us to understand just how dire the situation is. It is dark, gritty, and gloomy. Even the Twilight blue filter effect works well here where it didn’t for that movie.
When we eventually find out what’s going on it’s a big WOW but we never find out the cause and that is part of the suspense. Great movies leave nothing to waste and this is a great movie. I wish more horrors, thrillers, and others of the same ilk would be made like The Day. The characters are very strong individuals and are portrayed by excellent actors like Shawn Ashmore (X-Men, X2), Ashley Bell (The Last Exorcism), and Dominic Monaghan (Lord of the Rings, LOST, FlashForward). I can’t fault the direction or choices of shots because everything works and everything is perfect. The blood and guts is just the right amount and is not over the top. Very seldom do you find a movie so well thought out from the slow reveal of poor circumstances to the relationship of the characters.
This is easily a must-see.
I can easily and honestly give The Day 10 out of 5 bloody shivs.
The Day is now available on bluray per Anchor Bay
The Day (2011)