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Movie Review: 'Daylight’s End'

Updated on August 26, 2020
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Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of two, and published sci-fi and horror author.

Introduction

“Daylight’s End” is a 2016 movie set three years after a vampire plague has ravished the Earth. There are small pockets of survivors dwindling to nothing and roaming bands using a variety of tactics to survive. Rumors of safe zones abound, but one wonders if there is actually anywhere safe.

Pros of “Daylight’s End”

The movie starts off with a strong introduction of the lead hero when too many others would have used boring narration.

Forget LA or NYC. This zombie/vampire movie takes place in Texas! Many people have guns and use them, which is why Texas would fare much better than say California or New York in such a disaster. The movie doesn’t simply rely on a few shots of the Dallas skyline, either, but shows other landmarks as well.

Lance Henrickson graces the screen in this low budget horror movie. Even in his eighth decade, he’s doing science fiction and horror movies. He also shows grace and dignity as a leader, such as putting down someone who has been bitten personally with his own weapon while showing pain at having to do so.

It is heartening to see a moment of positive portrayal of faith in a horror movie without it being mocked. That people are trying to hold onto sanity and purpose in the middle of insanity adds depth to the movie.

The surviving son has a strong relationship with his father instead of the pure rivalry or hatred of his father many movies rely on.

You don’t just have a bunch of sexy twenty somethings trying to survive. You have families with women and children being protected. Yes, having scenes of women grabbing young children and running for safety does add to the drama.

A redneck couple that fights to the bitter end to save everyone else is refreshing sight. That they don’t win also subverts a number of tropes.

Tamara Wilhite reads, writes and reviews science fiction and horror, both in print and other mediums.
Tamara Wilhite reads, writes and reviews science fiction and horror, both in print and other mediums. | Source

Cons of “Daylights End”

Many scenes are show with filtering so it looks like twilight, while this effect detracts from the movie’s key scenes.

The movie’s diversity is two token black guys, one of whom has an adopted white family, and a Russian. Of course that’s the black guy who lasts the longest. No hispanics, though they're nearly half the population.

The writers stuck in a number of southern stereotypes in a movie set in Texas. And they were ignorant of Texan stereotypes.

What’s the escape plan? Rappel off the roof! Really? The rope you’re carrying isn’t long enough to do it down a dozen stories.

Observations

The hero has a strong Mad Max vibe down to his car.

The irony of so many small towns losing their population to the larger cities is that you can find towns with burned out buildings and a ramshackle post-apocalyptic look that resembles a rural Detroit, just a few blocks from a Subway or gas station. But the small rural towns like what they show in this movie are not an hour and a half from Dallas – they are several hours out because the suburbs have grown so much.

If you are stuck in a world with vampire creatures, your best solution isn’t going city to city looking for supplies – it is finding a rural farmstead that the vampires can’t reach in one night. Texas has refuges like this such as colonias miles from anything else or the King Ranch.

Even in an urban environment, during the day they could install concertina wire, barbed wire and barricades to slow down access to the safe area each night. For a bunch of cops camped out in a jail, there was too little such tactical planning.

Summary

Are you looking for a Texan horror movie? Do you want to see a stellar performance by Lance Henrickson? Do you want a vampire movie that isn’t cut from the same trope cloth? Then watch “Daylight’s End”, a five star horror movie.

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