Much has been made of The Day being just another generic post-apocalyptic movie, rehashing an old formula without bringing anything new to the table itself. And while it does focus on a small band of survivors and opposition in the form of a band of cannibals all filmed in bleak, washed out colors, they are used in service of creating a unique statement in the genre. Yes, the similarities are unquestionably there, but the method in which they are used breathe fresh air into a stale film trope.
From nearly its onset, The Day knocked me off my feet and never allowed me to regain balance. Whether it be through the shocking, sudden death of a character early on in the film, to a seeming character betrayal that is just as quickly turned on its head, to the ending itself, which deserves a special commendation. It is both brutal, and gutsy, with a final act of sudden violence that not only would be either softened or left entirely out of most comparable films, but that is also committed by one of the protagonists; my jaw was agape as the credits began to scroll across the screen, something that I can say for very few other films.
And where would a review of The Day be without a mention of the exemplary acting? Shawn Ashmore and Ashley Bell, in particular, are fantastic as a father still grieving the death of his wife and young daughter, and a mysterious nomad of few words but quick action, respectively. Michael Eklund is also notable as the leader of the cannibalistic tribe the lays siege to the house in which the five survivors thought was a refuge. Only Cory Hardrict leaves a bit to be desired in his performance as Henson, whose would-be tough lines more often than not fall flat, and on occasion are even laughable.
However, that one misstep barely registers in a film as well made as The Day. Amidst the washed out colors and the shaky camera work, there rests a diamond in the rough. The Day could have been a disaster; indeed, it certainly isn't a perfect movie. But when the acting is as strong as is on display here, with characters well-drawn even without the addition of any back story, and the sheer daring with which certain aspects of the film itself are made, The Day rises above the post-apocalyptic clichés and becomes instead a breath of fresh air in a genre film that should not be missed.
Review by tsheridan94 from the Internet Movie Database.