DAY OF RECKONING

PrintE-mail Written by Scott Clark

After successful runs with proto-cult films Big Ass Spider!, Turbo Kid, Jeruzalem, and Tales of Halloween, production company Epic Pictures have made a great name for themselves and are heading to the Sy-Fy channel this month. Their latest offering is the end-of-days themed Day of Reckoning which follows one family’s twenty-four-hour fight for survival in a world overrun with demons.

Joel Novoa’s Day of Reckoning deserves credit for sheer audacity of concept and pulls off some great large-scale monster-filled disaster imagery. There’s also some great parallel Earth, stuff since the film takes place fifteen years after an initial reckoning, and it’s nice to visit a post-apocalyptic world where things have been somewhat recovered and the human race crawls furtively on. If anything though, the horror/sci-fi dystopia stuff isn’t in there as much as it should be, so the world feels oddly inconsistent. There’s a fine cast at work though and everyone does well to bring the world to life.

Much of this is as cool as you’d expect it to be, but after the first few glimpses of mania, proceedings start to dull. A lot of the issues come down to the quality of the effects which are, for want of a better word, flimsy. If the film had been more like Big Ass Spider! (which appears for a cameo) and embraced its dodgy effects and B-Movie aspirations, there could have been some great fun. Especially with prolific genre stars like Raymond J. Barry and Barbara Crampton on board. Instead, there’s a lot of doom, gloom, and scenes which aren’t really constructed to scare or thrill.

Thankfully, Day of Reckoning knows it can’t pull off the epic rumble you might want, so it scales down and delivers a tighter, more controlled final set-piece. The film feels most comfortable when it keeps the hell-beasts in the shadows and turns the pace up, but it doesn’t happen enough. It’s a real shame because, somewhere in here, there’s an undeniably cool premise populated with interesting questions. The notion of afterlife, or any theistic influence, is put to bed too quickly, and since there’s little food for thought anywhere else, it feels skimpy on meat.

If the effects had been practical and the gore more heavily indulged in, there could have been a rip-roaring time to be had here; instead it’s a dour-faced disposable which rambles through its runtime without evoking much reaction.

DAY OF RECKONING / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: JOEL NOVOA / SCREENPLAY: GREGORY GIERAS / STARRING: JACKSON HURST, HEATHER MCCOMB, JAY JAY WARREN, RAYMOND J. BARRY / BARBARA CRAMPTON / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

Expected Rating: 7/10
Actual Rating:

 


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