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directed by Oliver S. Milburn
UK 2012

A home invasion leaves writer Dan Shergold (Dan Richardson) paralyzed and his wife brutally murdered. Embittered over the fruitless ongoing police investigation, Dan retreats from the world with only his caregiver Fiona (Sophie Linfield, DON'T LET HIM IN) for company until Infurnari (Giles Alderson, THE POSSESSION OF DAVID O'REILLY) turns up on his doorstep with a unique offer of revenge. Although he initially resists his new vampiric urges, Dan learns that to use his enhanced senses to track down his wife's killers, and he discovers that robbery is actually far down the list on their actual criminal interests.

Stylistically, HARSH LIGHT OF DAY has little to add to vampire cinema. There are few fangs shots, red eyes are digitally enhanced, and the vampires' ability to move faster than the eye is largely achieved through editing and zipping POV camera shots; and it is perhaps best that director Oliver Milburn reserves the showiest CGI for the final scene since - as well-done as it is - it too isn't anything new to the current crop of vampire films and TV at any budgetary level. Script-wise, Milburn does provide a novel addition to vampire lore in that the enhanced vampire senses extend to memories and sensory experience of past events even as a human (Infurnari describes being drawn to the opium dens his father frequented years after the man's death, and Dan notes evidence that went unnoticed by the police weeks after the investigation that allow him to scent the work environments of the killers). The actual revenge is a bit underwhelming, but it is perhaps fitting since Dan then asks "What's left?" when the endless possibilities of eternity would be more obvious to characters not solely motivated by vengeance. A lengthy exchange between Infurnari and Dan about the difference between humans and vampires probably would have been better placed earlier in the film, giving Dan food for thought throughout the second act rather than seeming like padding between the climax and the final scene. Although there seems to have been the potential for a more meditative work, HARSH LIGHT OF DAY moves a a good clip and maintains interest even as it takes us through the familiar new-vampire-discovering-his-cravings-and-aversion-to-sunlight scenes. The cinematography is often attractive, with the faint greenish tinge of the fluorescent lighting in some sequences adding an effectively unnatural touch.

Eric Cotenas

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Theatrical Release: 8 June 2012 (UK)

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DVD Review: Monster Pictures/Eureka Video - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Monster Pictures/Eureka Video

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 1:18:33 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.83:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: ~8.0 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Monster Pictures/Eureka Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.83:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by writer/director Oliver Milburn and producer Emma Biggins
• Short Film SPEECHLESS (16:9; 9:37)
• Interview with director Oliver Milburn
• - First Feature (16:9; 2:54)
• - Hoodies and Vampires (16:9; 4:33)
• - Post Production (16:9; 5:24)
• - Story (16:9; 3:24)
• - Stunts (16:9; 4:35)
• - The Actors (16:9; 1:54)
• - The Crew (16:9; 3:03)
• Dan's Memory (4:3; 1:54)
• Scene 36 (16:9; 2:49 - with optional commentary)
• Gag Reel (16:9; 3:24)
• Original Trailer (16:9; 1:10)
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:37)

DVD Release Date: October 1st, 2012
Amaray

Chapters 9

 

Comments

Monster Pictures' (formerly Bounty Films) high bitrate anamorphic encode wrings out as much detail as it can out of this somber-colored HD-lensed flick (shot with the Sony EX3 with an adapter to achieve shallower, film-like depth-of-field). The Dolby Digital 5.1 track emphasizes atmosphere over directional effects (although things get interesting during the attack scenes and vampire perspective sequences). A 2.0 stereo mix is also included. Nine chapters are illustrated in the scene menus, but the video track itself has seventy-four chapters with the bulk of them appearing consecutively during a thirteen minute segment late in the film (presumably this is an authoring mishap since they marks do not fall at the start of specific scenes or shots).

The director and producer commentary is definitely well worth a listen to would-be indie filmmakers, emphasizing the extensive development, pre-planning, venue targeting, and full utilization of available resources (including what can be achieved and obtained by fostering interest without overselling the project). Also included is SPEECHLESS, a ten minute short film by Milburn that is both amusing and touching.

The seven-part "interview" with the director traces the principle aspects of the film's development, shoot, and post-production and is illustrated with plenty of behind-the-scenes video. There is some overlap with the commentary but the featurettes are more focused and concise (Milburn's blog on the film also offers plenty of useful information for aspiring filmmakers). "Scene 36" is presented splitscreen in its original version and reshot version (the second one shot in a different location opening up the setting and offering more opportunities for camera angles and actor movement). Milburn provides optional commentary about his reasons for reshooting the scene. "Dan's Memory" features the uninterrupted (and uncropped) 8mm footage of the character's childhood beachside memory (which is shown in flashes in the film). The gag reel is more successful at depicting the the fun the cast and crew had than it is at amusing the viewer. Lastly, two trailers for the film are included with the "original" trailer being slightly misleading and less interesting than the "theatrical" one.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Monster Pictures/Eureka Video

Region 0 - PAL

 

 




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