Review: Darkest Day (2015) cinematic release

At select cinemas throughout May & DVD on 25th May / 2015 / 90 mins / 18 rating / Bright Helm Films/Left Films / Dir, Dan Rickard

Dan wakes up on Brighton beach with no memory of the past few days. As he ventures into the city, he discovers chaos and destruction as it is in the grip of a deadly zombie-like virus. He takes refuge with a small group of survivors, who are suspicious of him at first. When it becomes clear that the army are hunting for Dan and will not hesitate to shoot to kill, the group are forced to move on, into the dangers of the changed city, and the dual threats of the undead and the military on their trail.

Recently Infernal Cinema has featured reviews of exciting new British horror films Curse of the Witching Tree (dir. James Crow) and The Sleeping Room (dir. John Shackleton). For sometime we have noticed an increase in gritty, more cerebral horror flicks being made in the UK. Darkest Day is certainly one of those films, it is further evidence that the horror genre is still a favourite in the British Isles.

The beginning is dramatic and attention grabbing, when Dan (Dan Rickard, also the features director) is shown waking up on a deserted beach. It leads to the exciting moment Dan first encounters the zombies that have started to take over Brighton. A sudden burst of violence also takes place, letting the viewer know that Darkest Day has the ability to jar early on.

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When Dan finds other survivors of this zombie-like virus (it’s always a virus, isn’t it?) the movie briefly takes on a tone more akin to a teen drama. The characters introduced appear to be in their late teens or early twenties, they are photogenic and partake in a lot of partying. The characters are shown consistently having a good time, this being a horror it usually means something truly terrible will happen to them shortly.

The style the feature is shot has a dark and claustrophobic feeling. When filmed in doors the rooms are crammed and semi lit. It creates a brooding atmosphere, it builds to the point that the viewer can sense something terrible is around the corner (as already mentioned). Credit must go to Rickard, he not only gives a strong performance as Dan but he handles the heavy responsibility of director with apparent ease.

The movie takes on a more conspiracy led narrative following the introduction of the military trying to kill Dan. This also gives clues to who Dan really is and why things have became the way they have. It takes the action of the feature outside, the characters go on the run. The manner in which this is shot is gritty, Rickard retains the edge he had established earlier.

Verdict.
British horror goes from strength to strength, Darkest Day is a superb addition to the resurgent genre.

Official Darkest Day website

DVD pre-order page