Written by: Daniel Hadley
Directed by: William Kaufman
Cast: Johnny Strong, Lance Henriksen, Louis Mandylor
I was beginning to get a little fatigued with the massive influx of zombie related media of late, which is why I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Daylight’s End is a vampire movie. Vampires that act exactly like zombies, but I’ll take what I can get. Given that I’m getting a little tired of zombies is just a testament to how fun this movie is because I had a really good time with it.
So post vampire apocalypse Rourke, our badass for this flick, is traveling from town to town, city to city wiping out all the vampires he can find. When he happens across a group of survivors getting annihilated by bunch of marauders with some very nefarious ideas about what to do with the lone female survivor Sam, Rourke steps in and wipes the floor with them. As action scenes go it’s very well done, in fact all of the action in Daylight’s End is pretty top notch, but more on that later. So after a brief introduction, Rourke agrees to take Sam back to her safe house, an old prison where a group of ex-cops and their families are held up. Once he arrives he learns that an alpha vamp is leading nightly assaults against the prison and by day sleeps in the basement of an old hotel, so Rourke offers his services in taking care of the vampire problem by blowing up the hotel, and maybe he has some ulterior motives.
It’s a simple story but what elevates Daylight’s End above its contemporaries are its action scenes. They are well shot, well choreographed and suitably intense. Watching a group of well-trained ex-cops tactically retreat while mowing down dozens of vampires is pretty cool. I can’t stress how nice it is to see what are supposed to be well trained individuals acting like well trained individuals. It’s very satisfying to see scores of zombie vampires run into a wall of bullets and even more satisfying when the guys shooting the guns know what the hell they are doing.
The characters in this movie move like professionals and handle their weapons with a degree of skill that I haven’t seen in a long while, and when some of the character do bite it it’s not because of their own stupidity. William Kaufman has already proven he can do action well with Sinners and Saints (now known by the very generic title Bad Cop), another movie with great gunfights, so I expected the action to be good, but honestly you don’t appreciate military tactics in movies until you see them used against zombies or vampires or vampire zombies or whatever they are. Just take it from me, watching a group of badasses shredding their way through feral, blood crazed monsters is damn cool to see.
What lets this movie down is the CGI blood effects which continue to be a blight on the horror genre. Come on people, can we please move past this now? What’s wrong with squibs? They look good and they don’t take your audience out of the movie. From a distance it’s not too noticeable here but there are some instances where it’s kind of painful. Luckily that’s the only real downside. But with so much attention given to the action and the gunplay I can’t understand why they skimped on the blood effects.
Acting wise no one lets the side down and genre veteran Lance Henriksen is great. It was a pleasure to see him unload a double barrel shotgun into a crowd of vampiric savages like a god damned boss. Johnny Strong, who also composed the film’s soundtrack, is believable as the stoic loner, even more so when he’s blasting his way through hordes of… zombies, vampies, whatever you want to call them.
So I’m clearly recommending this movie. It’s a fun movie with great action. It’s a shame about the terrible CGI blood, but you take the rough with smooth.