The Harsh Light of Day (3 stars)

The Harsh Light of Day

Impressive low budget debut from Oliver S Milburn about a vigilante occult writer

Cross-pollinating existing genres is an effective way to gain attention, and 23-year-old auteur Oliver S Milburn pulls the trick off with The Harsh Light of Day, a vigilante/vampire thriller. Milburn’s debut is a slight, unpolished micro-budget, yet the grasp of storytelling displayed here marks him as a promising talent.

Occult writer Daniel (Dan Richardson) and his wife Maria (Niki Felstead) return from a book signing only to have their home invaded by three thugs, who break Daniel’s spine and murder his wife in a brutal killing they record on camera for an unseen audience of snuff-video sponsors. Daniel struggles to find the motivation to recover, but a visit from a sympathetic vampire named Infurnari (Giles Alderson) provides him with the supernatural powers required to hunt down the trio who took his wife from him.

Following a similarly nasty atmosphere to 2011’s perplexing Kill List, The Harsh Light of Day makes a virtue of lo-fi production values, a small cast and minimal locations, using frenetic edits and intense close-ups to follow Daniels’ evolution from victim to vengeful executioner and beyond. While undeniably a minor work, Milburn’s debut is a reasonably composed penny-dreadful which mostly hits its modest targets.

Selected release from Fri 8 June.

Official The Harsh Light of Day Trailer

The Harsh Light of Day

  • 3 stars
  • 2012
  • UK
  • 1h 30min
  • Directed by: Oliver S Milburn
  • Written by: Oliver S Milburn
  • Cast: Dan Richardson, Giles Anderson, Sophie Linfield
  • UK release: 8 June 2012

Writer Daniel (Richardson) and his wife Maria (Felstead) are attacked by three thugs who kill Maria and leave Daniel paralysed. Then, a mysterious stranger (Alderson) gives Daniel the power to seek vengeance. A modest penny dreadful that cleverly blends vampire and vigilante tropes and makes a virtue of its micro-budget.

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