If you’re in a movie, it’s always a bad idea to pick up a hitchhiker in the middle of nowhere, but that’s just what troubled married couple Danny (Redmond) and Irene (Meierhans) do in Daylight, a muddled thriller combining clichés with an overwrought layer of religious symbolism that endeavors to make the story seem more meaningful than it is.
Director and co-writer Barker creates a decent sense of danger at first, when Danny and Irene find themselves held hostage by a pair of disturbingly courteous criminals somewhat reminiscent of the villains in Michael Haneke’s Funny Games. Soon, however, they reveal themselves as more standard-issue bad guys, although their back story and motivations remain obtuse. The story drags once Irene and Danny are split up, and Barker spends way too much time on the dynamic between Irene and her two captors, which is not nearly as complex as he seems to think.
Ultimately the movie leads up to exactly the outcome you expect, despite its arty pretensions, and there are some visceral shock moments toward the end. They’re not enough, though, to rouse Daylight from the torpor that’s already built up.