British vampire thriller, The Harsh Light of Day is writer/director Oliver S. Milburn’s feature-length directorial debut. The low-budget film may not be a total success, but at least Milburn attempts to add something different to this horror sub-genre.
Writer Daniel Shergold (Dan Richardson) is left widowed and crippled following a brutal home invasion, but he is given a chance at revenge following a visit from Infurnari (Giles Anderson). He just has to do one thing – become a vampire. Sort of like Interview With The Vampire meets Death Wish.
The budgetary limitations of The Harsh Light of Day mean that a large portion of the film takes place in the cottage of our main character, it’s a necessity, however it just doesn’t feel right. The cottage is too sparse, it doesn’t feel homely and it seems to be more like a rented house than a home. However, the film gains some narrative thrust once Shergold becomes a vampire and gets on his feet, literally and figuratively. The film’s slight 80 minute running time means that it’s just beginning to get interesting when it comes to its conclusion, a shame because the second half is so much better than the first. Although, the ending does appear to have been stolen wholesale from Chan-wook Park’s 2009 film, Thirst. Although, having said that, it does look rather impressive.
The performances aren’t too bad, but they are more suited to television than cinema, and the cinematography is too digital and too clean, the image needs to be dirtied up to make it more cinematic. The score is decent if maybe too obvious, but it does the job within its obvious budget constraints.
The Harsh Light of Day is a decent enough debut to show that Milburn may turn into an interesting director; however, his next film will have to be larger in scope if he wants to impress.
The DVD comes with some good extras. There’s a decent commentary, a few smatterings of additional/ alternate scenes and the disc also includes a few in-depth interview snippets with writer/director Milburn, which show him to be knowledgeable and enthusiastic. A good package.