Stars: Jackson Hurst, Heather McComb, Jay Jay Warren, Hana Hayes, Nick Gomez, Raymond J. Barry, Barbara Crampton, Randy Vasquez, Daz Crawford, Maz Siam, Luis E. Carazo | Written by Gregory Gieras | Directed by Joel Novoa
Made for the Syfy channel Day of Reckoning can be summed up in one easy description: it’s a demonic monster-movie take on The Purge, an old-school disaster movie given a CGI-filled makeover…
Fifteen years ago, the world suffered a horrific global disaster when millions of demon-like creatures ascended from the bowels of the earth, swarming the entire planet, and feasting on mankind for one full day. Now due to a lunar eclipse they have returned for 24 hours to purge the earth’s population. One family will battle against the odds to not only save themselves but to also seal the breach.
See what I mean?
The latest film from writer Gregory Gieras, Day of Reckoning combines a lot of the themes found in his previous work: the huge monsters from Big Ass Spider!, the claustrophobia of Centipede! and unlike unlike the aforementioned giant spider flick, a much darker and grimmer look (plus a LOT of running around corridors) from Return to Death Row.
However the dark and grim look, explained as the result of the lunar eclipse that allows the films monster to roam the earth, actually works in the movies favour – it hides some of the CGI monster effects, making them look much more impressive than they already are. And yes, I did say impressive CGI monsters! For the creatures in Day of Reckoning are some of the most hideous hell-beasts I’ve scene outside of Hellraiser and the genre films of Pearry Teo; and hiding them in darkness only makes them even more spectacular. Especially when there are hordes upon hordes of the creatures filling the skies or running across the L.A. landscape.
But of given that this is a low-budget TV movie, the grand scale of the CGI monster hordes is used sparingly. Instead of large scale terror, Day of Reckoning pares down the action to a small tight-knit group of people trapped in this, literal, living hell. A group which includes genre veterans Raymond J. Barry and Barbara Crampton (who’s criminally underused here), both of whom bring some real kudos to what is, ultimately, a low budget TV movie.
Mining some well-worn tropes of the genre, including the oft-used “salt as a defense against demonic forces,” to create a fantastic quasi-religious, post-apocalyptic meets end of days story, Day of Reckoning could easily make for a pilot for a series of films and/or TV show set in this terrifying vision of a future Earth. And that would be something to get hyped about.
Day of Reckoning is out now on DVD from Soda Pictures/Thunderbird Releasing.