The Harsh Light Of Day (2012) – 2013 Montreal Horrorfest Screening



Directed by Oliver S. Milburn Starring Dan Richardson, Giles Alderson, Sophie Linfield
Written by Oliver S. Milburn

Horror/Revenge/Torture/Vampire - 2012 (UK, Ireland)

If ever a trailer was misleading it was for this little British film written and directed by Oliver S. Milburn. I completely expected a torture/rape/revenge exploitation horror in the vein of Last House on the Left or I Spit on Your Grave. This, it was not. But it did start out that way…

The Harsh Light of Day began with Daniel Shergold (Dan Richardson) experiencing success with the publication of his new book, which took 10 years to write and is about “monsters” (surprise, surprise). After celebrating at the launch party, Daniel and his wife, Fiona (Sophie Linfield), return home and continue the celebration with some carnal shenanigans, but not before the talk about the future of having kids and breakfast in bed the next morning. Before heading off to the bedroom, Fiona quips, “One must earn one’s rest.”

The whole opening sequence is cut up into scenes from the past and the present, so you’ll have to do some piecing together, which isn’t hard. It’s a technique that works well when done properly, and I think the filmmakers did a good job, however, the film quality of these varying scenes is off — one scene filmed in HD and omnipresent while the next is grainy and almost first-person like. The disjointed quality didn’t stop with the opening sequence, as it was a problem for me throughout the film.

The filmmakers even managed to find a way to include the found-footage technique. It’s plain to see how this fits The Harsh Light of Day, but being that it was such a small scene it felt like it was filmed in post and added in to hit the popular trend.

I’ll avoid giving away the g genesis for the intrusion, but basically after our couple falls asleep for the night, Daniel is awoken by sounds of an intrusion. When he goes to investigate, he is beaten and injured to the point of paralysis, but he’s able to crawl up the stairs in time to witness the murder of his wife by the three intruders. For whatever reason, he’s left to survive.

So, Daniel is left to mope around in a wheelchair with the help of some homecare. After months of isolation, he finally accepts a call from a friend who wants to introduce him to a “friend.” This is where The Harsh Light of Day takes its turn away from being a straight-up revenge flick. What it becomes is (do I tell you or not?) a vampire movie. So, Daniel becomes a vampire and his paralysis is cured and he goes on a revenge trip. (There, I told you.)

The Verdict

The Harsh Light of Day is a very interesting twist on both the revenge and vampire genres. It certainly plays into at least two fantasies. It's a great concept and the film is fairly executed, even if the quality is lacking at times. I'd say that only horror fans can appreciate what was attempted here, and as such, only true horror fans should bother seeing it. I can definitely see how this would really work if it got picked up for a big Hollywood production with a huge budget, but I seriously doubt that will ever happen.

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