The Harsh Light of Day: DVD

Thursday, 04 October 2012 14:45

The Harsh Light of Day - on DVDHow far would you go in the name of vengeance? That is the question this dark-hearted British film dangles in front of its protagonist, occult author Daniel Shergold (Dan Richardson). He and his wife are subjected to an apparently motiveless and very brutal home invasion by three masked hoodies armed with crowbars and a camcorder. She is murdered and his injuries leave him with the prospect of being wheelchair-bound for eternity. Or so he thinks.

Filled with rage and despair and with only the intermittent company of home carer Fiona (Sophie Linfield – “The Football Factory”), Dan feels helpless. Then he gets a call from his mentor, McMahon (Lockhart Ogilvie), offering the services of a stranger who can help him track down the criminals. Enter Infurnari (Giles Alderson – “The Damned United”), an enigmatic and mesmeric character with a guarantee of assistance that comes with a terrible price.

 “Harsh Light” is a horror film that will appeal to fans who like their movies pitch black, bloody and unremittingly dour. There is scant levity and no variance in tone, making it a little tough to watch. That is not to say it is a bad film, indeed it is an impressively assured first feature for director (and writer) Oliver S. Milburn, who works wonders with a meagre budget.

The characters are generally dislikeable at best or loathsome at worst, with the exception of Fiona and Dan’s wife Maria (Niki Felstead), which unfortunately drags the movie down. One ought to sympathise with Dan but his determination to get revenge no matter what the cost leads him down a very dark, one-way path. He does resist the urge to act immediately when Infurnari’s influence begins to take effect, but he never wavers from his own murderous intentions.

Thankfully, the acting is of a high standard, helping to bring out a bit more humanity and nuance in the characters. Had Danny Dyer and his ilk been involved, the film would inevitably have been a car crash! Richardson captures Dan’s desperation perfectly, and Alderson imbues his role with beguiling charm, with an undertone of pure menace.

The movie features some striking editing, intercutting flashbacks and childhood memories to emphasise the warmth of Dan and Maria’s relationship, and contrast it with the cold and bitter events of the present day. The soundtrack features a stimulating mix of delicate piano pieces and much more bleak and disorienting industrial music, where the thumping bass pervades the film like the embodiment of evil.

The movie is fairly light on special effects, but the gore is effective and the final scene is very impressively staged.

The special features included with this release are:

  • “Speechless” - Short Film
  • Interviews with Director
  • Trailers
  • Gag reel
  • Commentary track featuring the director and producer
  • Scene 36 (a re-shot scene with old and new versions shown side-by side with optional commentary)
  • Dan’s Memory (how they made the scratchy childhood footage using an old 8mm camera)


The lack of a making-of is less noticeable when the rest of the bonus content provides much the same information in bite-size pieces. The short film is an interesting piece about a young man who struggles to overcome a stammer whilst working at a B&B.

“The Harsh Light of Day” (2012) is released on October 1, courtesy of Monster Pictures. The main feature has a running time of 82 mins approx, carries an ‘18’ certificate and retails for £12.99, or less from

Last modified on Thursday, 04 October 2012 14:56

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