If you mix classic zombie flick 28 Days Later with the comedic undertones of Shaun of the Dead and then throw the camera at some students, the result would look something like Darkest Day. Shot over eight years and over many, many weekends, this film has all the charm of a university student venture trying to be a big budget film. The score is there, the effects for a budget of under £1000 are spectacular, but it does feel a little unfinished places.
Set in a post-apocalyptic Brighton, a young boy named Dan (Dan Rickard – also the director) wakes up to find himself alone and washed up on a beach, supposedly in the middle of nowhere. He stumbles upon a pair who he thinks might be able to give him some answers as to what’s going on, but it all ends horribly once the fast-paced, red paint-doused zombies arrive. The look of these zombies is comical in its own right; it seems like the director just found some random people on the street, threw red paint on them and yelled “now scream and run as fast as you can!”
Taking place in a typical university student house, the film is drenched in nostalgia as shots show a group of students sitting around and getting drunk. The film tries to take a tense and serious tone in places, and succeeds for the most part, though one tends to get distracted by the very choppy editing and some major clichés. The overacting by some cast members leaves a lot to be desired, but the one element where the film surprisingly excels is in the CGI and special effects. This is what gives Darkest Day a chance to compete alongside other indie-style action films on the scene.
Overall, this film has some serious potential and makes for an easy watching, enjoyable zombie film. Its rough, low-budget feel is almost charming and the grittiness gives it that Blair Witch feel. What is clear is that Darkest Day has defined a new category within the indie film industry, hopefully making it possible for more new filmmakers to branch out in their own way.
Amaliah Sara Marmon-Halm
Darkest Day was released nationwide on 1st May 2015.
Watch the trailer for Darkest Day here: