Directed by Dan Rickard
Written by Dan Rickard and Will Martin
Produced by Simon Drake
Music by Richard Wilkinson
Cinematography by Dan Rickard
Reviewed by Megan Purcell
What makes a good zombie movie? According to the rules of the two classics, Night of the Living Dead and 28 Days Later, a good zombie movie of either the slow undead or the fast plague kind involves creepiness, dread, suspense, human angst, and the gross-out. Darkest Day, a 2015 independent made on a surprisingly tiny budget, has at least some of these ingredients. A young man wakes up alone and confused to find a mostly empty England sparsely populated by angry, fast-moving plague victims, soldiers, and a few civilians. Of course the rip-off factor is inescapable, but the question is, is it creepy and fun?
The answer, for diehard B horror fans, is mostly yes. It’s not very creepy, but there are some effective jump scares, and plenty of dread and suspense. Sam, the leader of the group of regular humans, is annoying, but Dan and most of the others are played by talented actors who do well with the material. The production value is incredibly good. Not a lot of gore in this one, until the end.
As far as plot, the first act is pleasingly claustrophobic as the humans hole up in a house and try to cope practically with their situation. By the middle act, much like The Walking Dead in the last few years, it becomes bogged down in too much “I have seen the enemy and the enemy is us” tiresomeness. This zombie movie needs more zombies. The twist at the end is unusual and not very predictable, which is nice. It’s short, it has good production value and decent acting, and a few jump scares. So if you like having a constant stream of horror running on your TV, it’s worth wasting time on especially if you’re in no way tired of everything zombie. Dan Rickard, the co-writer, director, cinematographer, and star is going to have a career worth following. I’d like to see what he does next.