Days of Darkness DVD Review
Written by Daniel Benson
DVD released by Revolver Entertainment UK
Written and Directed by Jake Kennedy
2007, Region 2 (PAL), 86 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on October 6th, 2008
Zombies, good God they're everywhere. Seems like I can barely take a look at my review pile without having a one in two chance of plucking out something that features shuffling flesh eaters. I've always maintained it's the easy choice for low budget film makers; hire a bunch of extras, slap on a bit of dusty face paint and have them munch on some offal and you've got yourself a movie. At least that's how some seem to approach it.
This is the brainchild of British expat Jake Kennedy, a former advertising executive who turned to film, learning the ropes at film schools in Sydney and Los Angeles. Here, he turns his hand to an entertaining stomp through some very familiar, and unfamiliar, territory.
Steve and Mimi are a sickeningly lovey-dovey couple who take a romantic camping trip into the hills. After spending a night gazing at shooting stars, and into each others' eyes, they return to civilization to find that most of the population is dead, and those that aren't seem to want to eat people. And, oh no!, Chad gets bitten within the first few minutes. Surely he's going to die and turn into a brain-munching monster that needs shooting in the head?! Well, we'll leave that for later.
Fortunately for the couple they're rescued by Simon, who takes them to a deserted military facility where a bunch of survivors have made a stronghold. The base is surrounded by a high fence, where hordes of the undead gather to wait for a glimpse, or even better, a taste, of the living. It's all very Day of the Dead, but without a spittle-mouthed military captain going nutzoid every five minutes.
The survivors are an odd bunch; there's a pair of used car salesmen, a retired porn star and her daughter, a macho actor, the aforementioned Simon — who turns out to be gay, and a bible quoting nut who keeps himself to himself until something happens and he can spout the relevant scripture. It's a very eclectic bunch and West has tried hard, maybe too hard, to avoid the cookie-cutter characters normally associated with this type of film. There's a slow patch after Steve and Mimi hook up with the group, but this is offset by some classic dialogue, most of it from the ex-porn star. When you have her spitting "I've slept with nicer animals than you!" at another character, it raises belly-laughs where there would otherwise be boredom.
As the group has a zombified Herbert, brother of bible-toting Trent, locked in the basement they soon find out to what extent the plague is affecting humans. In a nutshell their genitals drop off and are replaced by a birth sack containing some kind of alien-human hybrid. Some of the women are experiencing strange symptoms too, especially the ones who appear to be pregnant without ever having sex. One of those shooting stars that provided the backdrop for Steve and Mimi's romantic evening was a comet that landed on earth, releasing alien spores that want to fuse with humans and create a new super race. And that’s why these zombies don’t infect people with their bites. They’re super alien hybrid walking dead, not your regular run of the mill grave dodgers.
Throw in some in-fighting, some attempts to go and get help and supplies, some zombie attacks, and then Steve manages to fathom out the reason that the survivors were unaffected. As soon as he realises, he puts his plan into action and it all comes to a rather abrupt end. It's an odd film that suffers from pacing issues and finishes just as things get going. It does get some brownie points for bringing some new ideas, albeit wild and incredibly wacky ones, to a genre that's got just a little too tired of late.
Days of Darkness is released in both a standalone version, and part of the Rise of the Flesheaters: Zombie Boxset along with Zombies Zombies Zombies, and critically acclaimed Brit flick The Zombie Diaries.
Video and Audio:
The video is a strange one with this film, it looks very washed out and gives the look of a 70's low-budget movie at times. Not a bad thing, but a little more vibrancy in the colours would have perked the picture up. The audio is clear and without problems, offering the choice of 5.1 or 2.0.
Just a solitary trailer on the disc and nothing else.