The Day, 2011.
Directed by Douglas Aarniokoski.
Starring Shawn Ashmore, Shannyn Sossamon, Ashley Bell, Cory Hardrict, Dominic Monaghan and Brianna Barnes.
A group of post-apocalyptic survivors struggle to stay alive in a land plagued by unbearable conditions and predatory gangs…
Along with their more carefully coiffed cousins the emo-vampire story, apocalyptic zombie movies have been everywhere for the past five or six years. While The Day, a depressingly turned out low-mid budget Canadian feature isn’t exactly concerned with zombies – the menace is actually from ravenously hungry cannibals as it turns out – it may as well be.
Clearly looking to soak up something of the success of TV’s The Waking Dead and countless recent games and movies, The Day plunges us into a world where food is short and tempers even shorter.
Following a bunch of beleaguered survivors – including Shawn Ashmore (X-Men, Frozen) Shannyn Sossamon (A Knight’s Tale, The Rules of Attraction) and Dominic Monaghan (Lost, The Lord of the Rings) – as they hunt for non fleshy foods and attempt to avoid the cannibals’ meaty clutches, The Day quickly runs out of steam and leaves the audience wondering what the initial point was. Without the sufficient shocks or any kind of back-story to either the planet’s or the protagonists’ current fate the result is a film without very much of anything going for it.
Much of the running time feels like an excuse to be just a little bit gross, but without investing anything in the characters, the audience is left wondering just why it should care less if someone gets ripped to pieces.
Like an exploitation movie that doesn’t have the guts (to say that they were ripped out would be too kind) to go far enough, The Day is left in an infuriating half-way house that leaves one whispering and then growling like a bored member of the undead.
Decent performers like Ashmore and Sossamon are underused and without wishing to spoil anyone’s fun, you cannot help but feel that Monaghan got off pretty lightly when his character departs from the action fairly early on. While a sub-exploitation shower scene between two of the leads just comes across as faintly ridiculous and indicative of the film’s lack of imagination and judgement.
To sum up, the plot could have been written on a postcard and the postcard got lost in the mail. A post-apocalyptic wreck.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★ ★
Robert W Monk is a freelance journalist and film writer.