is always a little scary when folklore gets the advantage over science. That is
especially true when mankind learns Hell or something very much like it really is
buried deep within the Earth and it is fully stocked with demonic monsters.
Fifteen years ago, the demons rose up to wreak havoc around the world before
returning to their nether-lairs. Signs point to another imminent rising, but
this time mankind will be better prepared, except in Southern California.
Things get decidedly apocalyptic in Joel Novoa’s Day of Reckoning (trailer here), an Epic Pictures production that
premiered this weekend on Syfy.
Sheppard is a pretty handy guy to have around, but somehow he wasn’t with his
family during the last Day of Reckoning. His ex-wife Laura could never forgive
him for that, but she still lets him have his regular weekend with their son
Tyler, even though it coincides with the original date of the first Day of
Reckoning. At least she will still be nearby. The parents of Tyler’s girlfriend
Maddy decide this would be a good time for a getaway to Palm Springs. We never
get a chance to meet them, so their timing was probably not so hot.
plan A falls through, Sheppard whisks his son, ex-wife, and Maddy off to
Barstow, where his slightly nutty Uncle Ted has a heavily fortified,
well-supplied bunker. Actually, Uncle Ted doesn’t look so nutty anymore.
Unfortunately, crusty old Ted and his much sweeter girlfriend Stella already
have one unwelcome guest—Garrett, a highly unstable military deserter. Of
course it won’t be long before Uncle Ted has even more party crashers.
terms of tone, Reckoning probably
falls somewhere in between the creepy JeruZalem
and the goofy Big Ass Spider! (two
previous Epic Pictures releases). For the small screen and its limited budget,
the creatures are pretty impressive. Screenwriter Gregory Gieras also earns
credit for agilely acknowledging the potentially heavy cosmic-religious
implications, without getting bogged down in them. More importantly, he gives us
a lot shooting at demons (logically employing explosive salt cartridges).
regulars Jackson Hurst and Heather McComb have decent bickering chemistry
together as the former Sheppards. Hana Hayes (who looks so much like Saoirse Ronan,
she played her younger self in Stockholm, Pennsylvania) shows better range and restraint than we typically associate
with Syfy original films. However, for genre fans, the real treat comes in
seeing cult favorites Raymond J. Barry (Sen. Richard Matheson in The X-Files) and Barbara Crampton do
their things as Uncle Ted and Stella.
is your basic “flock of evil” kind of film, but
Novoa maintains a healthy energy level and the creature design work is original
and macabre enough to satisfy monster buffs. Recommended as some horror
meat-and-potatoes, Day of Reckoning airs
again on Syfy next Monday morning (10/17).
Labels: Barbara Crampton, Horror Movies, Syfy