Action Day Zero

Toronto After Dark Review: ‘Day Zero’ Offers an Action-Packed Take on the Zombie Apocalypse

October 22, 2022Ben MK

A well-worn staple of the horror genre since 1968's Night of the Living Dead, zombies have come a long way from the shambling creatures first depicted in George A. Romero's groundbreaking classic. What hasn't changed, however, is moviegoing audiences' collective fascination with the brain-eating undead. And in Day Zero, writing-directing duo Ays and Joey De Guzman are offering up their take on the inevitable zombie apocalypse, in this gory siege thriller starring MMA fighter Brandon Vera.

The setting is modern-day Philippines, and a mutated strain of the dengue virus has been turning ordinary people into violent, out-of-control monsters. Caught in the middle of this unprecedented scenario is maximum security prison inmate Emon Marasigan (Vera), a former U.S. Special Forces soldier convicted of aggravated assault who's just trying to avoid getting into any further trouble so that he can eventually see his wife Sheryl (Mary Jean Lastimosa) and young daughter Jane (Freya Fury Montierro) again. However, when citizens all across the country, including many of the prison's inmates and security staff, become infected by the deadly virus, Emon and his loyal friend Timoy (Pepe Herrera) must find a way to stay ahead of the chaos, lest they become victims of the outbreak themselves. Thrust into a battle for survival neither of them are prepared for, the pair end up at the besieged apartment building where Emon's wife and daughter reside. But if they thought escaping a prison full of bloodthirsty zombies was tough, they'll certainly have their work cut out for them, as they're forced to fight through an onslaught of the infected, all in an effort to reunite Emon with his family.

Suffice to say, the ensuing storm of blood and carnage is sure to please fans of zombie cinema, as Vera gets to use a small arsenal of weapons, as well as his well-honed MMA skills, to take down an endless barrage of undead combatants. As for its story, Day Zero isn't particularly unique or memorable. Although once you consider how many movies the sub-genre encompasses, you'll realize that there's no point crying over spilt guts.

Day Zero makes its North American premiere at the 2022 Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 22 min.

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