Daylight Fades (2010)
(15) Running time: 97 mins
Director: Brad Ellis
Writers: Allen Gardner
Starring: Matthew Stiller, Rachel Miles, Allen Gardner, Rachel Kimsey
Reviewed by: David Gillespie, official HCF artist
It is rather devastating how much the Twilight series has harmed the seductive allure of the vampire in modern cinema. Like a barbed wire chastidy belt it has annihilated the sexual element impotent and defused any threat that the vampire had in horror folklore. What cannot be argued about the movies are the clicking and slamming of millions of cash registers around the world as dough eyes females tune into the next painful installment of the dullest vampire series ever. However money talks and the local multiplex will soon be welcoming the very latest action in the Bella, Edward and Jacob love triangle in the busy Summer blockbuster season. It is good business sense that the subject of vampires should be promoted while the iron is still hot. This brings us to the release of Daylight Fades, a vampire tale of doomed loved with more in common with the classic Near Dark than the pasty faced teens of Twilight.
After a string of dead end relationships and one night stands, the troubled Elizabeth (Rachel Miles) meets the shy but good intentioned Johnny (Matthew Stiller). As the weeks pass the couple appear to be kindred spirits. But when Johnny declares his love for Elizabeth she panics and sleeps with the first man that she meets in a local bar. She later confesses her sins to her boyfriend, leading to an arguement and Johnny being involved in a fatal car accident. Overlooking the incident is Seth (Allen Gardner), Elizabeth’s estranged father. He left his family due to financial debts and having been bitten by a femme fatale, named Raven (Rachel Kimsey). Having witnessed his daughter’s pain and heartbreak, he decides that he will turn Johnny into a creature of the night and if you excuse the pun, take him under his wing (gifaw!). The question is whether Johnny will be able to control his lust for blood and adapt to his new chance at life.
If compared to the Twilight series then Daylight Fades has a lot more going for it. Budget constraints dictate that there is no ‘fashionable’ CGI or special FX which certainly benefits the believability and credibility of vampires living amongst us. What the director lacks in FX, he certainly makes up for in terms of the general look of the project. The lighting and photography are highly impressive for such a low budget feature. Ellis also uses a variety of beautiful aerial and sweeping shots of Memphis.
The unknown cast are all solid in their roles with Stiller and Miles proving to be a believable couple with strong chemistry between them. Special mention must go to Rachel Kimsey as Raven. She oozes sex appeal yet carries a degree of mystery and menace in her performance. The movie certainly notches up a gear whenever she enters proceedings so it is unfortunate that her character does not feature in the main plotline for any length of time.
Horror fanatics will be left disappointed with a lack of vampire gore and killings yet the story never drags with enough dramatic moments to keep the viewer interested. Perhaps Daylight Fades will not linger in the memory as one of the finest vampire chapters in the genre, yet it makes for a suitable entertaining night in with a curry and a few beers.