Last thing I expected when I popped the no frills Days of Darkness into my DVD player was to actually like it—a lot. Most likely the first thing that will annoy most undead lovers is the lack of gnarly zombie makeup. This is pretty much just guys running around with blood all over their mouths to indicate that they’ve been eating human flesh. Even for me, at least making the zombies look like zombies is usually the most crucial aspect of a zombie film, but hey, if people can take the laughable blue faces in Romero’s Dawn of the Dead seriously, then they should be able to stand plain faces here.
As if to compensate for the lack of gruesome ghouls (at least to retain my interest), Days of Darkness is loaded with cuties and hotties! Young white lead male? He can throw me a bone any day.
Big, burly muscular black dude? Scary hot! And he gets shirtless to show off astounding muscles that he then squeezes into a tiny pink T-shirt. And yet he still looks butch.
And another stunningly good looking hero turns out to be gay! Wow. Director Jake Kennedy honestly dares to tackle some untapped territory in the horror genre with the unfolding of this gay character’s story (including a revealing gay kiss…). This is the kind of stuff that can still alienate straight adolescent male horror fans, which just goes to show that the creator of the film had a higher vision even if he had a lower budget than one might like when making such a film.
Of course, not all the characters are as unique—at least it seems. There’s the predictable prick who is all about saving himself and doesn’t give a shit about the others. There’s the young woman in a delicate condition. And then there’s the most cliché of scripture spouting religious extremists ever. Remember Marcia Gay Harden’s character in The Mist? This dude is probably her brother in the celluloid plane of existence. At first, I rolled my eyes at this over-the-top character, feeling that they need to rethink the ostracizing of people of faith in films because, believe it or not, there are a whole lot of God-fearing folk who are NOT bigoted haters. But as the story unfolds, his actions help reveal a much more complex religious theme in this seemingly bad B-zombie movie.
Personally, I think Days of Darkness has it all. You can watch it as a typical zombie siege movie that, while not all that impressive in the makeup department, is loaded with the kind of stuff we want from cheap horror films—boobs for the straight guys, balls for the gay boys (SERIOUS balls), the typical entrapment of one zombie because he’s family, sprinkles of understated laugh-out-loud humor that you’ll miss if you’re not paying attention (I believe this is the first implementation of the word “chode” since Orgazmo), a female porn star character who drops some of the best skanky ho lines since Veronica Hart in the Ron Jeremy classic horror film One-Eyed Monster, one of the best frat boy solutions to killing the zombie infection, and probably the nastiest premise in zombie reproduction you’ll ever witness. Let’s just say, when these zombies are ready to plant the seed, it’s not just the girls who have to worry about the wares. EEK!
Now, I might be reading too much into this film, but if I know my theology (and I don’t), this is a story of either the Apocalypse, the Virgin Birth, Adam & Eve, the Resurrection, the Second Coming (are they all supposed to be capitalized?) or all of the above, simplified for simpletons like myself to be more accessible and digestible…digestible by zombies with bad makeup, that is!