Days of Darkness
Director – Jake Kennedy
Writer – Jake Kennedy and Joe Gaynor
Runtime – 85 minutes
This movie starts out much like a hybrid of Undead (great genre flick from Down Under) and the one that most believe started it all – Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (although it started many years before with films depicting Haitian rituals including drugs that spawned mindless ‘slaves’). Yep there’s a comet careening wildly towards Earth and a shambling undead type (the first of many with no mention of “Barbara I’m coming to get you”) traipsing his way towards our hapless lovebirds out enjoying a romantic hike.
The film continues and within no time introduces us to a small ensemble holed up in a military type installation.
Tom Eplin, Chad, appears to be a leader of a sort and he’s utterly recognizable by both his fellow cast and the viewer. “Yea – I’ve done some acting”. Another is a dead ringer for Abby (Paula Perrette) from NCIS.
Another who doesn’t appear until the ‘crew’ venture underground let’s it be known that she’s a porn goddess who’s had her share of men (70 in one week! Over 8000, 2013 of them up the ass. But no one’s keeping count, right?) but didn’t choose to abort when she realised she was pregnant (funnily enough she protects her offspring like she’s the crown jewels). Although ironically it’s her brother who’s locked away, drooling, by his lonesome – infected.
Trent, John Lee Ames, is an odd suited type who likes to spout verses from the bible rather than help make the situation ‘better’ in any way. And the ensemble is near complete with the addition of a car salesmen and a few others who’ve witnessed firsthand the wanton unrelenting appetite of those not quite dead yet.
Each has his or her tale to tell and they do so in a clever montage sequence complete with flashbacks whether it’s to save on the features running length, budget or time in my opinion it works.
The dialogue and character interacted is often hilarious and well above par for films in the genre but it’s the films spin on the mythos that helps to keep the viewers attention. A take that in my experience that has yet to be covered, a phase in the transformation that includes a ‘dislocation/unattachment’ of sorts. The films steady pacing and stabs at dark humor also helps in the same manner. DJ’s shirt, worn later in the film, states Hugs not Drugs on vivid pink background a legend that soon fades the more it becomes drenched in crimson.
Although the antagonists are made up disappointingly (whether this is a traditional zombie film or not) the gore quotient is above average for the genre with bucket fulls of claret, dismemeberments, an autopsy and the all too familiar myriad of gnashing teeth.
One of the films (many) ‘money-shot’ sequences however, is rather unique and might well make those with extra Y chromosomes squirm. Others only aid in rhe film standing heads above the herd as a unique feature that’s not at all typical of the genre it appears on first glance to belong to.
Days of Darkness is a fun flick with a fantastic spin that many in the genre wouldn’t dare touch, great characters and solid direction though it does have a few areas that many might find difficulties with. The camera work is one such area and is at times unsteady and dizzying (but no where near on a par with that seen in the French shocker Irreversible) however with that in mind perhaps it’s part of the ‘direction’ with the emphasis being on making the viewer seem like they are also in on the action, present in a scenario that is unfamiliar, strange and uncomfortable, even anxiety inducing. Another area of confusion revolves around an unexplained sequence of events, concerning a few of the females in the group, which builds to somewhat of a climax towards films end. I’ll not embellish upon it suffice to say there are periods of time where anything could have transpired (explaining certain things) which aren’t covered by the films narrative.
The films climax is different than most and may well make many cheer in celebration if in fact an outbreak of this magnitude were ever to actually happen.
So what’s left to say? Not much, except give this film a chance, it’s delightfully different enough so I believe to lift the genre (only momentarily) from its beaten to death/been done before status.
Your slave to celluliod often lost in the mountainous hordes of others lacking in originality and purpose.
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