On the Road Again, by Jack Fleischer
The Day is not a good movie. What could have been a clever low budget post apocalyptic action movie with good performances is shackled by clichés, plot holes, genre fatigue, and a generally nonsensical script. Maybe die-hard action fans will find something here to enjoy, but I can’t recommend this film at all.
I went into this screening knowing nothing of the plot, and after looking at some of the publicity, I don’t think this review will contain spoilers, but be warned that if you still intend to see The Day, you might want to skip the following, then come back, read what I have to say, and then yell in the comments below.
The Day is set in a post-apocalyptic world about a decade after “d-day.” We are never given an explicit reason for the collapse, only that resources are exceedingly scarce. We join five hardscrabble, gun-toting survivors as they head through the baron wasteland. All we really know is that they need shelter soon, and that’s when a house appears. They are suspicious, but they also know that they need something before nightfall. The next 24 hours in and around that house constitute the “Day” in the title.
As the film began all I could think about was unraveling the mystery of just who the “others” in this story could be. I was taunted with the possibility that this movie was Twilight meets The Road. Everything seemed pointed to a gritty vampire apocalypse. This is wrong. This is not a story about vampires – the problem is that it might as well be.
All the preview material I’ve seen since my screening reveals what I eventually learned – we’re dealing with non-supernatural cannibals. This is a world in which humans are nearly the only food available. Some human’s have accepted this fact while others resist. I suppose this is when a certain suspension of disbelief should have set in, but instead I was left with boatloads of questions.
But let’s ignore the plot for a moment and focus in on characters.
There are a few highlights; in particular “Mary” (Ashley Bell) shines in several scenes, even if it is obvious that she’s never smoked a cigarette in her life. Her crowning moment came during a torture scene that originally gave me hope for this movie. It had me on the edge of my seat, and I was certain that the film was headed in the right direction (I was wrong). Shawn Ashmore (X-Men: Last Stand) is good, Shannyn Sossamon (A Knight’s Tale) is fine – but really all of the actors suffered at the hands of a script that succumbed to every cliché and trope that has ever been used in similar genre films in the last 30 years.
One of the things that really upset me was what passed for character exposition. During one moment of introspection when one character says to another, “Remember that time at the lake?” and they both laugh. I don’t remember that time at the lake. I was not there, and right now I don’t believe that either of you were there either.
This Day feels like an MTV spin-off of The Road. With a near monochrome color pallet, and scenes of intense action and violence it never seems to offer substance with it’s style. If any of the above plot or character elements appeal to you watch The Road, Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13, Night of the Living Dead, or a dozen other trapped-post-apocalyptic flicks.