Release Date: March 17, 2020
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 1 hour 14 minutes
Carly and Rina, a lesbian couple on the verge of breaking up, are down on their luck and forced to move in to a motel. But mending their relationship is put on hold when a pandemic disease that causes insatiable hunger ravages the world around them. Battling depression and a ravenous horde of flesh-eating zombies, they try to survive the apocalypse armed with only a video camera and a quickly dwindling supply of weapons. Love is never an easy road, and when they are forced to band together like never before, will it be enough to save them?
If you’re in the mood for a zombie film, check out the new release, By Day’s End from Breaking Glass Pictures. Directed by Michael Souder and co-written by Souder and Justin Calen-Chenn, By Day’s End stars Lyndsey Lantz (Cicada Song) and Andrea Nelson (LGBT web series, BIFL). Lantz and Nelson star as an unemployed lesbian couple who have moved to a new town and are looking to start anew. The new that finds them is the undead, as the beginning of the zombie pandemic sweeps the motel that they’re occupying during their transition.
The story is told through the POV of the motel’s security footage as well as the video camera owned by the couple. I really enjoyed the found footage style directing but that’s a trope that will always work with me so I may be biased here. The directing was a strong effort and I look forward to watching more from Souder in the future with a bigger budget. He knew what he wanted and I think he achieved it well with the budget given, which is not easy to do.
As for the story, I was shocked to find that the entire movie takes place in the motel. Obviously, this is an indie film, so the locations may not be as abundant and produced to a grander scale as a film with a bigger budget. But I kid you not, there is no other location in this movie. It’s the motel which includes the parking lot, lobby, and the room that our couple stays in, as well as another room.
I found this setting and lack of more locations refreshing… to see the beginning of a zombie outbreak in one location and the story of someone’s abrupt end in that location. Because we rarely get to see that and those are stories worth telling too. The ones where you don’t have any useful weapons around you when everything hits the fan. The ones where there is no way out because everyone around you is infected and nobody knows where you are so nobody is going to save you. This was fun to explore here. But one location might not be everybody’s cup of tea, so just know what you’re getting into here.
As far as the characters go, there really isn’t a whole lot of time to get deeply invested in anyone too much but they do a decent job at laying the foundation for each of them and giving us what we need to root for these characters. To stay on the journey with them. I do love that at the heart of the story, there’s 1) a lesbian couple 2) they’re unemployed and attempting to start over but both have very different feelings about how to take their next steps 3) there are layers to the tension because that’s not the only elephant in the room as an eating disorder also plays into the mix. How that is played out over the course of the zombie apocalypse is something that I don’t think we see enough of, so that was interesting. I’m not a fan of talking zombies but new zombies who still embody the behaviors and patterns of their living selves, I can get behind. That’s striking. That was exciting to see.
This zombie movie has a lot of great ideas going for it and attempts to show us some really cool things. It makes you think about the possibilities for movies in this genre. It feels like a mix of the writers’ favorite zombie tropes and just the tip of the wish fulfillment iceberg. So if that’s something that you think would interest you, I’d consider checking this out. By Day’s End isn’t a must see but it is certainly worth checking out if you’re looking for a zombie movie to turn on after you’ve seen all of the others.
By Day’s End is available on VOD & DVD today.