Movie Review: Darkest Days (SFM)

by - Wednesday, October 24, 2018

I never review Youtube series or videos that are over an hour long, but I thought I'd start doing them because I found a really good hour-long video to review. If you guys guessed correctly, it's based off the Left 4 Dead series and it's called Darkest Days.

Darkest Days was made by videographer and photographer Danny Field completely in SFM (short for Source Film Maker, which is where those little funny videos involving Valve games are made). The story focuses on brothers Taylor and Jessie, but the models for Taylor and Jessie are Nick and Ellis from Left 4 Dead 2 as they try to survive a zombie apocalypse with Taylor's daughter, Emily (who kind of seems creepy because her eyes look like they're popping out of her head, but as Danny explains, it was a technical issue where the model would not allow her to cry). The zombies are based off The Common Infected from the Left 4 Dead series, but imagine if they were slightly stronger than in the games and didn't become dismembered upon being hit. The pair then run into Coach, based on the character in Left 4 Dead 2, and his daughter Lanisha, whose model is Rochelle from Left 4 Dead 2. There are some characters who didn't change names, such as Bill and Francis from the first Left 4 Dead game, and there are even some cameo appearances from Zoey and Louis, also from the first Left 4 Dead game. Danny also throws in some characters from Half-Life 2 (which I've never played and probably should) in the mix, to make it a true zombie apocalypse. The movie also mentions the CDC and government instead of CEDA and the military, unlike the Left 4 Dead games.

The setting of this game really reminds me of Left 4 Dead and The Walking Dead smashed together, because the zombies, despite being based on the Common Infected from the Left 4 Dead series, can actually eat people, unlike their game counterparts who just aim to kill. Some people have actually complained about this in some comments and reviews I've read because the characters did come from the Left 4 Dead series, but in my opinion, if this was a real zombie apocalypse, nobody would really have the experience needed to fight other than people who visit shooting ranges frequently, police officers, and military personnel. Coach and the rest of the people in the gas station fight the zombies before heading out, but Coach is quickly overwhelmed and killed, but not before detonating a grenade to save Lanisha and the others. After rejoining with the others, the group splits into two: one group heads towards the docks, while the other group goes back to the city, where they are quickly overrun. Taylor and Emily, unfortunately, join the group going back to the city, and Jessie and Francis go out to see what happened a day later after Taylor doesn't send a message, and Jessie discovers Taylor and Emily have died, which is foreshadowing what's going to happen to everyone else, after what happened to Coach. The rest of the group heads towards the docks, where they encounter more zombies and grab a boat to leave, but unfortunately, the boat has one fatal flaw: zombies have managed to hide out on the boat and they attack and kill everyone on the boat.

There are several things that get me about this film: one of those things is that it kind of resembles a musical because the characters occasionally break into song, but the songs definitely remind me of stuff I used to listen to as a teenager (and even now to this day). There are songs from bands like Disturbed and Killswitch Engage (my personal favorite), and the video introduced me to more songs I love. Also, I love how every song somehow fits into the situation that they're in (example: "So Far Away" by Avenged Sevenfold being lip-synced/sung by Jessie when he and Taylor separate and the zombies overwhelming the city and the people who decided to go back and everyone lip syncing/singing to "Not Ready to Die" by Demon Hunter when fighting the zombies at the Dock). All the songs are ones I'd probably pick if it ever came down to a zombie apocalypse as well. Some comments say that the music is metal, but to me personally, it's a mix of hard rock and metal/metalcore.

The second thing that gets me is that I feel like this movie would be a real-life representation of the zombie apocalypse if it did happen: no health kits, no defibs, no adrenaline, and it's a fight for survival. The only thing I didn't like is how everyone died in the end; I would figure there would be a few survivors but when you have everyone rushing to get off the island, I can figure out how a small mistake like not checking to see if there are any zombies around can lead to everyone dying.

This is a very gory movie, so if you don't like blood, guts, or any of that stuff, this isn't the movie for you. However, if you are a fan of Left 4 Dead or even just SFM movies, this is definitely worth a shot. It's quite disappointing that the original video had been taken down, reuploaded, and taken down again, and THEN reuploaded again (sadly with some of the music muted, but you could fill it in on Spotify or Youtube since there's a list of all the songs in the video description).

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