The Movie Waffler New Release Review [DVD/VOD] - BY DAY’S END | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review [DVD/VOD] - BY DAY’S END

by day's end review
A struggling lesbian couple attempts to survive a zombie outbreak.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Michael Souder

Starring: Andrea Nelson, Lyndsey Lantz, Joshua Keller Katz, Bill Oberst Jr., Maria Olsen

by day's end poster

Carly (Lyndsey Lantz) and Rina (Andrea Nelson) live in a bleak hotel complex. Down on their luck, they’re hoping for something better. Meanwhile, Carly keeps herself entertained by filming the various day to day minutiae of the hotel.

The shabby surroundings are clearly taking a toll on their relationship, and though Carly is prepared with an engagement ring, it's doubtful they’ll stay together long enough for her to even propose.

It transpires that Carly abandoned her medical studies close to graduation and has now decided to embark on a videographer career; in the following week she will be shooting a wedding.

Olivia Wilde-like Rina is battling an eating disorder and obvious depression. She’s snarky and lashes out at Carly at every opportunity.

by day's end review

Carly attempts to keep them together and positive, and this is where they are when all hell breaks loose in the complex, starting with a woman screaming, running and seeking shelter with them as she explains that her husband went insane and bit her.

Her name is Gloria (Diana Castrillon) and she is unfortunately pursued to the complex by her husband Manuel, who has become unreasonably violent and somewhat growly.

They find a broadcast from a Dr Harold Rittmeyer, who basically explains what’s happening and how it all started - handy!

[ READ MORE: Blu-Ray Review - Edge of the Axe ]

Turns out there’s a zombie virus outbreak and it's hit the hotel.

Luckily the women’s ex-army friend Wyatt (scenery chewer Joshua Keller Katz) is on hand with weapons and gung ho valour to dispatch the zombies and offer supplies.

It then becomes a battle to see who will survive, what will happen with our central couple and what will be left of them.

by day's end review

Ostensibly a found footage film that uses handheld cameras as well as CCTV, we never find out who ‘finds’ the footage and puts it together, but I like the use of different formats to tell the story from varying angles. This was a solid decision from director Michael Souder on this, his debut feature film.

Low budget is written all over this, from the minimal script to the uninspired hotel rooms; in fact the limits of the setting hurt the film the most. Those flat personality-free rooms just add disinterest to an already fairly mundane and stale narrative, one that’s only enlivened slightly by having lesbian characters as the leads.

[ READ MORE: New Release Review - Vivarium ]

I’m sorry to say I never felt engaged with this story and though it was only an hour and 14 minutes, it struggled to hold my attention.

I did enjoy Lantz’s impassioned performance as Carly; the ‘death in the bath’ scene was mildly effective; and the song over the end credits was lovely. But there are many other things wrong here.

by day's end review

Why set it in a hotel and not take the time to introduce us to everyone? Some banter, some intriguing characters, some connection before starting the action would have certainly added more interest.

While Carly is engaging and funny, Rina comes across as miserable and unpleasant.

The zombie effects are very amateur and never once believable and the found footage conceit is not used to effect, seemingly a pointless hook with none of its attractions.

I enjoy zombie movies. I enjoy virus outbreak movies. I enjoy lesbian characters in movies. And I love found footage horrors.

But this just didn’t work; and I wonder, if it didn’t work for someone so predisposed to its ‘charms’, how would it go with a less enthusiastic audience?

By Day's End is on DVD/VOD March 17th.

2020 movie reviews