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.