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A group of five people working to stay alive in a post-apocalyptic future discover what they think is a safe, abandoned farmhouse, but they soon find themselves fighting to stay alive as a gang of bloodthirsty predators attack.
For more about The Day and the The Day Blu-ray release, see the The Day Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on November 26, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Dominic Monaghan, Shawn Ashmore, Shannyn Sossamon, Ashley Bell, Michael Eklund, Cory Hardrict
Director: Douglas Aarniokoski
» See full cast & crew
The Day Blu-ray Review
Cabin in the apocalypse.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, November 26, 2012
I just wait to die.
A WWE Films production with no wrestlers? A mega-corporation takes a big step -- but not so much of a big risk -- with The Day, a drained and dour end-of-times tale about a group of survivors battling another collection of survivors because, well, that's what people do in the apocalypse, apparently, especially when they're hungry. For anyone who hasn't been paying attention, doom and gloom and end times are all the rage these days, be it in the form of zombies, economic collapse, war, the Mayan calendar, name-any-upheaval. End times is making ends meet for countless outlets, whether Hollywood pictures, gun shops, or preparedness merchants. Perhaps what's so interesting about tales of survival and togetherness in the most challenging of times is that they can inspire or disgust in a flash, separately or even together at once. The Day does a little bit of both, but mostly hones in on the latter by painting a fairly hopeless picture wrought with gloom and violence and mistrust and broken relationships. It's not as intense as The Divide or as unforgettably polished and dreary as The Road, but The Day works as a serviceable film and a worthwhile dosage of doom and gloom for anyone interested in a little dispirit in their lives.
Five survivors -- Adam (Shawn Ashmore), Rick (Dominic Monaghan), Henson (Cory Hardrict), Mary (Ashley Bell), and Shannon (Shannyn Sossamon) -- travel a deserted road across a barren wasteland in a devastated, worn-down post-apocalyptic landscape. Their numbers have dwindled, their exact location is uncertain, food supplies are short, and they're down to a mere 41 rounds of ammunition amongst them. Rick believes in the future; the group does carry two large jars of seeds, and he feels they need only find a safe and secluded spot from which they can settle down and create a new life. They stumble upon a farm house and choose to hunker down for the night. Henson is battling an illness from which he may not recover. The men settle into the house while Shannon and the mysterious Mary search the grounds outside. Adam and Rick make a shocking discovery in the basement: dozens -- maybe hundreds -- of cans of food. Unfortunately, an unexpected twist puts them all in danger and leaves them facing a horde of dedicated survivalists who will do anything to secure their next meal.
It's a little disconcerting to see the WWE logo but not see a John Cena or a Steve Austin in the lead role, at least for a moment. When The Day breaks and the gloominess pours into the theater, it quickly becomes clear that this isn't exactly the sort of film that calls for a musclebound hero to save the day, to shred enemies with the same intensity he shreds his muscles, to waste bad guys with bullets as big as his biceps. The everyman look, the worn down, grimy, hungry, tired, and frightened nobodies that populate the film is half of what makes it work. They make the movie relatable, which in the end of times seems to be most of the point. It allows the average viewer to place himself or herself in a decidedly not average situation, to deal with the dilemmas, to face the fear, to battle the bad guys, to despair in the midst of endless doom. The movie most certainly gets its look and feel down just right to reinforce those ideas, and even if the acting proves a little wooden and robotic at times, the sheer excess of atmosphere masks what little bit of inaccuracy flows into the movie by way of midlevel performances.
Then again, The Day also deals in what is largely a linear story with not much more drama beyond who will kill who. There's a revelation partway through that leads to the film's most intense, stomach-churning scene, but the drama is otherwise limited to generalities as they relate to the survival scenario. It boils down to basic human needs and emotions, the need to live by any means necessary which drives the film though perhaps not in a way one might immediately consider in a safe land of plenty. As the desperation mounts, both the violence and mistrust increase, leading to some intense conflicts both within the group and against another. The Day handles its action with plenty of style and tackles its dramatic conflicts with flair, but it does stumble a bit in its depiction of graphic violence, going rather cheap and making use of unconvincingly blurry and phony digital effects that largely ruin several scenes. Otherwise, the movie gets more right than wrong, even as it plows through the plot with little imagination. This isn't a crowd pleaser sort of movie, but audiences looking for a dose of dire apocalyptic filmmaking will want to spend around ninety minutes with The Day.
The Day Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Day's dreary and lifeless visual stylings don't translate into high definition eye candy, but Anchor Bay's 1080p transfer is at least faithful to the filmmakers' vision. The image opens with absolutely no color and livens up only slightly as the titles appear. Weeds and grasses capture a bit of life in the form of a yellowish tinge, while wooden gun stocks also take on a bit more color and brightness compared to most other surroundings. Otherwise, color is largely nonexistent, limited to pale, basic shades that are so light they rarely stand apart from the gloom. On the other hand, detail is quite good, even under the absence of bright light and brilliant colors. Facial lines, tattered clothes, worn woods, and other basic elements capture adequate textural accuracy. Blacks often look a bit washed out, but their appearance remains in-line with the film's intended visual style. Likewise, flesh tones are pale but by design. Light banding and occasional softness both appear at times, but not to any significant detriment to the transfer. Viewers won't turn to The Day for visual dazzle, but most should be satisfied with what is a faithful transfer of a gloomy movie.
The Day Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Day dawns on Blu-ray with a high yield, highly enjoyable Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. From the start, listeners will enjoy involved and steady surround usage. Blowing wind sends gusts and debris around the stage to natural, almost spooky effect. Rain gently saturates the stage a bit later, coming down steadily through every speaker. Music enjoys similar spacing and accuracy; heavy notes notably send a foreboding sense of dread through the stage, and a few good, positive rumbles from the low end aid in setting a critically dark and disturbing atmosphere. A heavy, blaring, and consistent alarm bell rips through the stage with frightening power and realism, making for a fine sound sequence and also a contextually chilling use of piercing sound. Gunfire suffices in energy and accuracy, and dialogue is consistently clear and delivered from the center channel. This is a very good sound presentation, one that captures the lifeless environment and the hellish effects of it with striking precision.
The Day Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Day's primary supplement is a filmmaker commentary track.
The Day Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Day won't go down as the great reference end of the world Action movie, but it certainly tackles its niche well enough and delivers a fairly intense moviegoing experience, at least for those who enjoy their movies gray and their futures hopeless. The Day does everything well but nothing so well as to make it all that memorable. Phony digital gore and occasionally bland acting hurt the film, but it's saved by high intensity, a quality atmosphere, and a straightforward, no-frills tale of violence and survival. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray release of The Day is disappointingly short on extras, but the A/V presentation is just fine. Core genre fans will want to pick this one up. Recommended to anyone familiar with the acronym TEOTWAWKI.
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