Review: The Day (Fantastic Fest)
PLOT: Set in a post-apocalyptic world, five survivors roam the wasteland looking for food, water and shelter. They find the latter in a seemingly abandoned house. But when they accidentally set off an alarm, they realize the true owners are returning and won't be inviting them over for tea.
REVIEW: My feelings for THE DAY can best be summed up in two words: CGI fire.
Now I'm not talking CGI fire like in BACKDRAFT or a TRANSFORMERS film, I'm talking a small bonfire. A simple pile of sticks that you light with a match and watch slowly burn. Not hard. You want a fire?, I'll go build you a fire right now. But THE DAY inexplicably uses CGI to create fire during a climactic scene of the film. It's distracting, ugly and, most of all, unnecessary. But let's start from the top.
THE DAY is set in one of those Hollywood-style post-apocalyptic wastelands. You know, it's gray and barren and cloudy and dirty and no one really knows why (or if they know, no one is saying). One of the five survivors we're following has a nasty cough they seem awfully concerned about so maybe there's a mystery illness that wiped out the Earth's population? (Or maybe he's just *coughcough* getting the black lung.)
It's all very by-the-book, complete with ammo counts and food rations and we gotta keep hope alive and remembering dead relatives and stuff that we might care about if our survivors were anything other than caricatures. There's the family man, the funny black guy, the pretty girl, the tough-as-nails chick and...Dominic Monaghan. I'm not really sure what he was supposed to be but he's the de facto leader of this bunch.
It's on his orders that they enter a deserted mansion they find, if only to check for some food and maybe grab some shut-eye. But when they find crates of food in the basement, their excitement is tempered when they - whoops! - trigger a really loud alarm. They want to run but are afraid they'll be too easily tracked out in the great wide open. So they do what any Hollywood group of apocalypse survivors would do - they hunker down in the house and wait for the cannibals to all show up so they can kill 'em all in a brutal showdown that will probably kill most of them too!
It's sort of ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 meets NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD by way of THE ROAD but nowhere near as good as any of those three movies. During the film, I noted to myself that it seemed like something Syfy would be greatly interested in for one of their Original Movies. The film didn't get picked up by Syfy but I was close - it got bought by the WWE. (Yeah, that WWE.)
THE DAY tries hard to be hard but is repeatedly undercut by a write-by-numbers script (I swear the black guy's lines could be direct lifts from one of Will Smith's film, right down to the delivery) and stilted performances (Monaghan is the only one who comes out with his nose clean).
Now back to that CGI. In addition to the WTF use of CGI fire, the film sports enough CGI bloodspray to make THE EXPENDABLES jealous. It's over-the-top and completely unnecessary. But, oh wait, so was this movie.