latest release The Day hits theaters today, with initial critical
reviews of the film being, eh, not too kind to the science-fiction
The Day is an interesting experiment for the floundering WWE Studios
in that it is the first finished movie the company has bought the
distribution rights to. As this article notes, new WWE Studios
President Michael Luisi acquired the film last year, after seeing it
at the Toronto Film Festival and being deeply impressed.
So, WWE had little to do creatively with the film. This explains why
there are no WWE stars featured and why no one's wife gets ***ped
by bad guys and has to be rescued during the course of the film.
Instead, the Doug Aarniokoski-directed film, which stars Lost's
Dominic Monaghan and Ashley Bell from The Last Exorcism, focuses on 24
hours in the lives of a misfit group of survivors in a grim, scary
Considering WWE Studios movies often open to scathing reviews, with
the acting and poor storytelling bearing the brunt of the criticism,
the initial hope was that the company buying completed films and
distributing them, using their highly-watched TV shows for promotion,
would produce better results.
Alas, judging by some of these early reviews, this isn't the case. By
the looks of it, rather than jumping on the next big hit film, the
company has lumbered themselves with yet another failed B flick that
has limited appeal to movie-goers.
Over at the New York Times website, Jon Caramanica critiques the
movie's writing and directing, as well as slamming it for its overall
lack of substance:
Like an animal warfare episode of Wild Kingdom but with less
character motivation, "The Day" cycles through bursts of horrific
*** only to end much as it begins: static, hollow and vague.
John Gholson of Movies.com trashes the film for its unoriginality:
"The Days ***ization of other, better films is its downfall;
theres just not enough unique material here to nourish."
NY Daily News' Elizabeth Wietzman writes:
Towards the end, you might find yourself thinking, Well, this could
have been worse. And youll mean it as a compliment.
She goes on to say: "Theres not much that can be said for the meager
plot, or the tedious, unimaginative *** it inspires. What can be
praised, however, is the cast, which elevates the film just beyond
Village Voice's Chris Packham doesn't seem too down on the movie, but
does spend most of his review picking apart the plot holes in the
script, written by *** Wolf scribe Luke Passmore.
Glenn Heath Jr. from Slant Magazine praised the performance of Bell as
well the sense of atmosphere, saying he found The Day to be being "a
*** and skillful action film," but still slammed the movie for
"going off the rails in the final stretch."
Mark Olsen of the LA Times also gives a mixed review:
"The Day" is just good enough to engage audiences, but it falls well
short of remarkable, leaving viewers wishing for a dawn that never
It will be interesting to see how The Day does, box-office wise, and
if it justifies the company's new initiative of jumping on the
bandwagon of finished or still-in-production movies instead of
starting from scratch with their own people.
The Hive and Dead Man Down are similar movies: Work was well underway
on these films when WWE Studios came on board for both as co-
financers. Although unlike The Day, they managed to slot in some
wrestlers due to filming being on-going. David Otunga will be featured
in The Hive; Wade Barrett has a role in Dead Man Down.
While the company has been heavily promoting the film on TV and pay-
per-view (Monaghan even had served as WWE's social media ambassador on
Raw this past Monday), and the movie's actors have been active on the
interview circuit, it's not exactly getting a wide release, only
playing in a handful of theaters across the country.