HARSH LIGHT OF DAY
DVD. Monster Films.
have to admire the ambition of 23-year-old director Oliver Milburn.
His efforts to bring something new to the vampire genre –
and to do so with a degree of style – haven’t entirely
paid off with The Harsh Light of Day, but there
is still a lot here to enjoy.
The film tells the story of occult book author Daniel (Dan Richardson),
who is the victim of a brutal home invasion that leaves his wife
dead and him crippled. The police are getting nowhere finding
the assailants – who turn out to be a gang of thugs who
are filming their assaults for profit – but when Daniel
meets the strange Infurnari (Giles Alderson), he is made an offer
he can’t refuse – the chance to take revenge on the
attackers in exchange for sacrificing his humanity.
Slickly shot and edited, The Harsh Light of Day
in many ways belies its minimal budget, but at other times is
severely hampered by it. The biggest stumbled block is the acting,
which is somewhat variable – Alderson, in a pivotal role,
is far too wooden, his one-note delivery barely changing whether
he is having a casual conversation or ripping someone apart. On
the other hand, Richardson does a good job as the tormented writer,
struggling between his need for revenge and his sense of right
and wrong. His transformation into a vampire is handled well –
it’s a gradual, barely noticeable change, but one that eventually
makes him invulnerable to a bullet in the head and with an insatiable
thirst for blood.
Where the film is really let down is with the main story development.
Without wanting to engage in spoilers, it is strange that having
built up the story as one of justifiable revenge, Daniel has very
little to do with the final retribution, being more victim than
anything, and the thugs who’s nastiness has been built up
throughout the film are rather too quickly, inconsequentially
despatched on the whole. A sudden lurch into ‘found-footage’
territory goes on far too long as well.
More annoying is the ending of the film, as flagrant an act of
plagiarism as I’ve seen in a while – it’s almost
exactly the same (in terms of actions, locations and imagery)
as the finale to another recent revisionist vampire movie. As
the final moment of the film, it leaves a bit of a bad taste and
invariably makes you reconsider your opinion of the movie as a
As a debut feature, The Harsh Light of Day is
worth a look, if you keep expectations realistic. I expect that
Milburn’s best work is ahead of him, but he certainly shows
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