Elizabeth and Johnny are two lonely souls looking for love that meet in a bar one night, not knowing the destructive consequences of their chance encounter.
Although Elizabeth is a tough cynic damaged by her abusive upbringing and abandonment by her biological father and Johnny is a shy kind-hearted emotionally open man, the two very different people fit perfectly together quickly falling into a passionate relationship.
Although their lives seem perfect at first the pairs underlying issues and differences keep rearing their ugly heads and an argument over Elizabeth’s inability to commit drives the couple apart, resulting in Johnny being involved in a terrible car crash putting him on the brink of death.
Devastated and distraught at the fact that her love may die without knowing how she really feels, it seems all hope is lost until the appearance of Seth (played by the films scriptwriter Allen Gardner) a mysterious man with a hidden connection to Elizabeth changes everything for the star crossed lovers.
Abducting Johnny from the hospital, Seth takes him to his house where he saves his life by transforming him into a vampire. Freaked out and afraid at first Johnny finds it hard to come to terms with his new life and the blood lust which now infects his body.
As Seth tries to educate him in how to survive in the real world Johnny and Elizabeth are reunited and all seems back to how it should be, however their happiness is sadly short lived.
As Johnny loses control of his urges, falling further into the dark side of his desires, he drives Elizabeth away and with the arrival of Raven – a vicious vampire who relishes her powers and passion for killing – it seems Johnny gets further away from any chance of redemption.
Although at first appearing to be a calculating cash-in on the current craze for all things vampire-related dominating every strand of media at the moment, Daylight Fades is in fact a much more intelligent and interesting exploration of relationships and human nature – more in the blood soaked vein of Let the Right One In or George Romero’s amazing Martin.
In these movies and in Daylight Fades it is the characters that are important, with the vampirism used as merely a metaphor for the exploration of primal desires relating to sex and violence that we all as human beings feel forced to repress. It also looks at the effects of addiction as a motivator on our morals and actions.
Made on a relatively low budget, the film looks good. And although the sound quality is sometimes lacking, director Brad Ellis does an excellent job getting great performances from his cast, avoiding excessive special effects and crafting a visually varied well made movie.
As stated before, it is the story and script that really gives Daylight Fades the fanged-toothed edge over other vampire movies, with the relationship of the main characters well written and well realised by the actors.
Johnny and Elizabeth, played by relative unknowns Matthew Stiller and Rachel Miles, almost reverse roles as Johnny’s blood lust transforms him from an introverted meek man into an aggressive extrovert driven to kill but desperate to stop.
Elizabeth who seemed so in control at the start loses everything. Unable to help her love, she is rocked by even more revelations from Seth when he reveals who he really is to her.
Although the film manages to avoid most clichés the character of Raven (Rachel Kimsey) a stereotypical vamp in every sense of the word seems somewhat out of place. That said, her existence can be excused, serving as a warped reflection of both Elizabeth and Seth offering Johnny a release from the pressures and commitments he once had in an abandonment of his humanity.
An interesting, independently made film proving how much can be achieved on a low budget and offering an alternative take on the overdone vampire genre, Daylight Fades meshes romance, drama and thriller elements showing just how versatile horror is when used inventively.
Read our interview with Daylight Fades director Brad Ellis Here.