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The Day

2011 | 85 min | R | 1.85:1

The Day


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Theatrical release date

 29 August, 2012

Country of origin

 United States



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The Day


Screenshots from The Day Blu-ray

The Day Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, September 1, 2012

One would think that a movie produced by World Wrestling Entertainment would contain a little more theatricality, a little more bang for the buck. “The Day” is a post-apocalyptic actioner from the sports entertainment factory, and despite a plot that dabbles in cannibalism and supplies a sizeable body count, there’s little here that invigorates the senses, despite a production that’s sniffing around for a certain tone of badassery it never achieves. Glum, poorly acted, and hard on the eyes, “The Day” is a flat feature with a few spikes of absurdity that push the production into unintentional camp. Even by the relatively low standards of the siege horror genre, this picture is a tedious waste of time.

A decade after an unexplained breakdown in society, a group of survivors makes their way across the land, searching for food and temporary shelter. Led by Rick (Dominic Monaghan), the gang, including Shannon (Shannyn Sossamon, weaving in and out of a southern accent), Adam (Shawn Ashmore), Mary (Ashley Bell), and Henson (Cary Hardrict), is ready for break when they reach a remote farmhouse, settling in to cleanse themselves and catch up on rest before they continue on their aimless way. Instead of peace, the team discovers a trap laid by a pack of cannibals guided by Father (Michael Eklund), also learning that Mary was once a member of the flesh-eaters. Now with paranoia in the air, the group settles in, ready to defend themselves with limited ammo, while Mary, now exposed to both sides, battles to prove her allegiance to her newfound family, leading the charge against the encroaching cannibals.

Drained of color and anchored with a low budget, “The Day” looks like many other horror offerings out there in the marketplace, boiling down a ravaged world to empty rural roads and rotting house interiors, with a monochromatic look assisting the weary atmosphere. It’s the end of the world, folks, and hues are in limited supply. The screenplay by Luke Passmore comprehends the challenges ahead, written with a limited scale in mind, finding the characters locked in conversations and confessions to help pad the run time, shying away from warfare for as long as possible. The attempt at humanization is admirable, but ineffective, piling on the clichés to connect to an audience that wants the rough stuff, while the performances leave much to be desired, often caught in a cursing vortex to come off sufficiently butch. Passmore’s work is unimaginative, with more time spent launching accusations than spreading exposition, leaving the cannibal mission and the very weight of the queasy world a frustrating question mark that’s never resolved.

Speaking of questions, I wonder why Mary, who bears the tattoo of the cannibals on her thigh, would trudge around the wasteland in a short, loose dress, practically begging those around her to take note of her controversial past life. Maybe pants are a luxury during this apocalypse, or maybe it’s slack filmmaking. There’s plenty of time to consider these fumbled creative choices while the characters drone on about nothing in particular.

Enough about logic, how’s “The Day” as an action film? Surprisingly limp, showing dependence on trendy cinematography and iffy visual effects to render the savagery. Director Douglas Aarniokoski (“Highlander: Endgame”) also displays difficulty with spatial relationships and a general surge of barbarism. These unshowered warriors wield machetes and axes, yet “The Day” doesn’t contain an electric charge of brutality, diluting the urgency of the violence and robbing the picture of the escapism it’s looking to impart. Its survivors vs. cannibals, but there’s no reason to care about the showdown beyond cheap thrills, which are few and far between.

“The Day” drags along the ground for most of its running time, with Bell’s largely mute role the only saving grace (despite the skirt, the ex-cannibal is pleasingly leathered and familiar with firepower). With such a grungy premise, more could’ve been accomplished with stronger production talent and an audacious script. Instead, the end of the world feels emotionally false and strangely inert.

Starring: Dominic Monaghan, Shawn Ashmore, Shannyn Sossamon, Ashley Bell, Michael Eklund, Cory Hardrict
Director: Douglas Aarniokoski

» See full cast & crew

The Day, Forum Discussions

Last post
The day the Earth stood still 59 Jan 07, 2009
Back in the Day... 58 Feb 17, 2009
The day off movie marathon 41 Dec 06, 2011
"Don't Watch" The Day After 10 Dec 28, 2010

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