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Yes, I'm giving a higher mark to this film. There are several things
that make this an above-par effort. The story will hold your interest,
the cast is mature and the acting is with enough conviction. It gives a
nice B-movie feel without resorting to bad CGI effects for a creature.
The Day The World Ended has the classic cliché elements for a perfect B flick: a mysterious misunderstood child, a town with a secret, and an alien (or IS it?). While not a direct remake of the 1956 film of the same title, it utilizes the original film by showing segments on a TV seen within the story and showing that VHS video box cover as part of the child's interest in aliens. High production values combined with B movie flair work just enough to be passable entertainment for some, but if you enjoy the *wink-wink* of its intended fun, it comes out a winner. It has the look and feel of a decent X-Files episode with the more psychological horror elements of the newer Outer Limits. That's not bad at all, considering.
Younger audiences may not give this a chance as the cast (except for the child) is well over 40, but I welcomed that element gladly as the older classic sci-fi/horror films always used a mature cast as well. They cast who would work well with the story instead of who was young and hot at the moment. By casting the way they did, this film will hold up better in years to come. Choosing a teen-looking cast would obviously date it when those stars have faded from the spotlight. Randy Quaid and Nastassia Kinski both give convincing performances, and Stephen Toblowsky adds just enough humor to his role as the principal.
The creature itself is hit-or-miss: in some scenes it looks fine, in others it doesn't. But the fact that it was actually part person/puppet/mechanics helps a lot even if it's not entirely convincing, as these days too many films just use computer animation which becomes distracting like watching cheap animation mixed in with live action.
Yes, this is a B movie. But it's a fun one, just like the old classics of its genre but with a bit more cussing and violence. Don't let the R rating keep you back on that part, as it's not gratuitous and just in the right doses. As for the MPAA's warning of a "sex scene"...it's so brief, rather awkward, and basically humorous that it's not even worth fretting over. Otherwise, those looking for sex and breasts better look elsewhere, this film concentrates on the story and its stronger psychological horror.
Those who are collectors of -- and particularly of ones that are homages to -- old B films will be quite satisfied and not worry that the DVD has just the basics to offer, plus some inside views from Stan Winston and Shane Mahan on a commentary. Others just looking to pass the time might not find the price worth it. I personally think this one will be one that years from now will still entertain. It's good enough, smart enough, and doggone it -- just creepy enough that people might like it. I know I've enjoyed this one a heck of a lot more than the most recently hyped theatrical blockbuster yawners, so give this one a try with a big bowl of popcorn and enjoy! Don't have extreme expectations and you'll be fine!
Dr. Jenniffer Stillman (the gorgeous Nastassja Kinski) is a school
psychologist from N.Y. that moves to her new job in a small American
town. There she will meet Benjamin James McCann (Bobby Edner), a boy
with a powerful mind, and some strange citizens that live under the
shadow of a mysterious event in the past. I am a great fan of those
Universal Classic Monster movies from the 50's, such as 'The Creature
from The Black Lagoon', 'The Wolf Man', 'Frankenstein', 'The Invisible
Man' etc. 'The Day the World Ended' look like one of those movies from
the 50's. It seems that the director and the screenplay writer wanted
to honor those movies. Further, it could be used as a 'X-Files'
episode. There are clichés, the special effects are very poor, but it
has a charm. It is a Sci-Fi / Horror movie without explicit violence
that entertains. It deserves to be watched. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "O Dia Que o Mundo Acabou" ("The Day the World Ended")
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When I decided to watch this movie, I expected it to be bad. After all,
Randy Quaid was in it. But I was pleasantly surprised; it was actually
The story begins when a New York Therapist, Dr. Jennifer Stillman (Nastassja Kinsky), goes to live in a small town in the mountains and work as a school psychiatrist. The people of the town seem xenophobic and treat her with disdain. She meets a dejected boy, Benjamin James McCann (Bobby Edner), who is mistreated by both the other children in school and by the adults of the town. The boy is obsessed with science fiction aliens and likes to watch old alien horror movies. Dr. Stillman takes a liking to him, but when she tries to help him, the boys father, Dr. Michael McCann (Randy Quaid) is against her even talking to him. Things start to take a turn for the worse when Dr. Stillman tries to get Benjamin to remember his dead mother, and people in town start to die.
Bobby Edner is very good in this role. There is a combination of vulnerability and anger that he manages very well. Both Quaid's and Kinsky's performances were good but not exceptional. The supporting cast was decent as was the directing. The plot was a little predictable and too much information is given too early. The monster was appropriately cheesy, and actually better than I expected. There were a couple of inconsistencies in the plot, but I had expected more. The pacing was good and the story kept moving.
This is not a jump out of your seat horror film. It's paced a little slower, allowing Edner to fill out his character. The plot reminded me a little of the old Twilight Zone episode "It's a Good Life".
Definitely a movie to watch if you are into grade B horror films, otherwise you can probably pass.
This is a 1950's science fiction B-movie remade for the
Some of the expected variations from a 50's movie are present - the injection of foul language, the obligatory sex scene and the emphasis placed very firmly on horror rather than sci-fi. There is also the predictable selection of nasty, unlikeable characters, a complete absence of fun, and a much-reduced level of excitement compared to the old films.
Unfortunately, one change that should have been evident - improved special effects - is entirely absent. The effects are not only very un-special, they are inferior to many of the most ordinary 1950's sci-fi movies.
Still, it's a somewhat entertaining film. Something to watch if you find yourself at a loose end and there's nothing else on TV that you want to see. It will keep you mildly interested for much of the runtime.
Just don't let the somewhat starry names of the leads (Randy Quaid and Nastassja Kinski) mislead you. This is a small film, with an uninspired central premise, adequately executed - no more.
This is one of those horror movies in a similar vain as some of Stephen
King's books; in which the focus of the movie is as much supernatural
as childhood trauma. This movie centers around an "exceptional" boy and the
thing he witnessed 5 years ago. A new therapist for the school district
shows up and immediately becomes drawn to the kid. Over the next hour and
some minutes, she learns what it is that happened and must aid the boy as
This movie has a lot of standard horror cliches: the shadowy creature, the town secret, the pained kid, the outsider, the small town freakiness. It plays them all well, but seems for the most part to fall back upon them instead of come up with anything significant. The movie is not one that will make jump out of your seat, but you will stay interested throughout the most of it.
I give it 8 out of 10, the only problem I have with the movie is the ending...a little bit too "clip-art from the big book of horror movie endings" for my taste....but at least it wraps up one or two things.
There are definitely too many references to other movies and story
traditions in this flick. It starts like Stanley Kubrick's The Shining
(the heroine driving a New Beetle yech!), it continues with dark
humor like a novel by Kafka (heroine with a badly defined mission comes
to a strange place and meets a bunch of strangely hostile stereotype
comic book characters of uncertain authority), then there's a whiff of
Twin Peaks (hints of sexual abuse of minors and general depravity in
the backwoods), then in comes E.T. (minor bonds with extraterrestrial),
then it turns out that minor's mother was regarded by the populace as a
kind of a witch and was treated accordingly. On top of that, there is a
clear reference to a 50ies horror B-movie. (Hence the confusing title
which has nothing to do with the story told here).
The references in themselves are not really bad or a rip-off. However, it would have been more fun, had they tied all that stuff together in a more coherent, rigid and orderly fashion. The pairing of psychology and the supernatural clearly does not work here. I didn't manage to find out what story the movie wants to tell and I suspect its makers could never really make up their mind. This is a pity, as the cast is quite good. I hope Nastassja Kinski still has a long career ahead of her. Not only for her looks, but also because she really is a versatile actress who in my opinion still didn't get her share of good movie parts. Randy Quaid and Bobby Edner are equally convincing in their roles, within the apparent limits of the script. The same goes for the rest of the characters who are parodies or stereotypes.
THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED is another lame TV movie released as part of a
Creature Features set of '50s remakes. I've yet to see one I liked!
Just the other movies in the series, this bears no resemblance to the
movie it's a remake of, and in addition it has absolutely nothing to do
with the world ending. It's another run of the mill alien on the loose
outing, complete with weird townsfolk, poor attempts at humour and a
psychic kid. Somehow, some notable actors have been roped into this
mess, including Nastassja Kinski (TO THE DEVIL A DAUGHTER) looking aged
as the doctor heroine and Randy Quaid (INDEPENDENCE DAY) playing
another weirdo, this time the stepfather from hell.
The film has the whole 'is the alien real or not?' thing going on but it's so mundane, routine and downright boring that you end up not caring. The cast give bizarre, non-serious performances which takes away from any dramatic tension that might have been built as a result of their attitudes. The alien in the woods stuff has been done to death and close-up shots of the extraterrestrial's teeth have been ripped off from ALIENS. I'll admit that there's one decent set piece, a ferocious encounter in a toilet, but it's not worth watching the film just to see that. The best action would be go and watch some of the ORIGINAL '50s creature features like IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE instead just to see how fun and campy they are in comparison to this lacklustre cash-in.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've written in before about the CREATURE FEATURE series and I'm not about to let this one go unmentioned.The series has now moved to H.B.O ,debuting DAY THE WORLD ENDED. If any of you have missed them when they were on CINEMAX do yourself a favor and tune in since I think they are now replaying all of them on HBO. Let me get to the point, and I won't give spoilers. These films deliver horror films like they used to make. Remember it is an Arkoff production. I had almost given up on sci-fi horror.Everything that seems to come out now days has cheap jokes,lame plots and lead actors that are all fresh out of grade school.Lets name a few. MARS ATTACKS,PLANET OF THE APES,TOMB RAIDER.THE MUMMY,AND MUMMY RETURNS, INDEPENDENCE DAY,etc. Huge budgets;stupid movies. That is why I love this film.It has real actors in it that are over 25 and it has a quirky strangeness that resonates a mood like no other cable made film I've seen in many years. I love that the film has a serious tone to it and it is also a very good mystery. The direction is superior to most feature films and again the creature work is fantastic.Really creepy.I really enjoyed the tie in to the old film,(you'll see what I mean.)If you like good horror films you'll love this. Keep up the good work Winston/Arkoff/Camp. Can't wait for next season.
Dr Jennifer Stillman is a child psychologist who moves to a small town
for a break from the big city life. On her first day placed in the
town's school, she notices a strange young boy called Ben. Taking the
opportunity to dig a little deeper into the clearly troubled lad, she
learns that he was adopted by his father (Michael) after his real
mother died and nobody knew who his real father was. However she
doesn't know quite what to think about Ben's belief that his father was
an alien and that he will return one day; but when someone or something
is killing people in the small town could it be that Ben is the only
one that knows what is really going on?
With a relatively well-known cast and an appealing title, I decided to give this film a go but must admit that I didn't think it was that good although maybe worth giving a go if you're in an undemanding mood. The plot offers mystery that appealed to me but it reveals its secrets very early on by revealing the rubbery beast quite early on in the proceedings. In fact it reveals so much early on that I realized that there must be more to the story than this, there must be some sort of twist and turn coming at the end or else this will have been one very dull movie. For what it's worth, there are some plot 'revelations' towards the end but they are not that good and they certainly don't make up for the rest of the film being a rather dull affair that occasionally throws in some rubbery effects. This part should create tension and mystery but it doesn't and the direction the plot takes comes across rather like a series of ideas that have been lifted from better films and not fully delivered here. It has some entertainment value but it would have worked better as a short film (30 minutes long) because here it feels rather stretched.
Edner was good as Ben, he wasn't as horribly cute as he could have been and he deals with the 'running and being scared' side of things just fine. Kinski overplays her part and makes it too earnest and serious. I'm not suggesting that she needed to be all-singing, all-dancing, but there is a difference between being convincingly earnest and coming across as really forcing the performance of being earnest Kinski does the latter rather than the former and she didn't do anything for me at all. Quaid is his usual self and is a nice addition; he does well with what he is given to work with. Support is quite good from Tobolowsky, Groener and a few others but generally this film is not about the characters it is about the plot and, in that regard, it isn't as satisfying as I had hoped it would be.
Overall this is watchable once but it is not much cop after that. The plot marks out its stall early on and tells us a lot but then settles on that for a while, making the majority of the film come across as a bit dull. When the twists and turns do come, they are a bit flat and uninspired and it never gets anywhere near the atmosphere that it wants to have and it doesn't really work on any level. Maybe genre fans will like it but I can find little to recommend it for and would advise that there are better films with similar ideas which develop and deliver them much better than this below-average made-for-television effort.
Randy Quaid really gives this movie an extra edge by playing it straight faced even though he knows it's a "monster movie". That seriousness toward his craft deserves recognition. But what I really like is the way you go through the whole movie thinking you've got all the answers, and then you find out that you had no clue what was really going on after all, and that the "stern parent" was right to act as he did all along. No wonder all the teenagers are giving it crappy reviews!!!
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