[Damned By Dawn]
Plot:After receiving a mysterious gift from her dying grandmother, Claire takes her new boyfriend home to meet her family who live on an isolated property in the country. The family reunion begins well but Claire becomes increasingly uneasy with her grandmother's medicated mumblings about the banshee coming for her during the night. Later that night, the family is awoken by piercing shrieks and Claire's worst fears become a waking nightmare as the Screaming Banshee and her army of undead return to unleash blood soaked fury on them all.
My Thoughts:Not very good at what it wants to be.
Review:The Australian supernatural horror film "Damned By Dawn", a piece of work by the Amazing Krypto Brothers...touts itself as an "Evil Dead"-esque horror flick. Granted, it does have and share some comparisons with "The Evil Dead". But beyond it's creatures, monsters, and the way it's shot...it really fails to be as entertaining, fun, or strong script wise as Raimi's classic horror pic. The film follows a young woman named Claire, who gets a strange hand-me-down from her ill grandmother.
Upon doing so, she takes her boyfriend with her on a trip to see her grandmother and the rest of the family. Who reside in the countryside. Her grandmother tells her that death is coming to claim her, and that she must not interfere. Death...in the form of a banshee like woman, who resides in the woods. Claire however, upon being visited by the banshee one dark night, does interfere by shoving the ghostly apparition off the terrace, causing her to become impaled below.
This act then unleashes a fury of the undead, who make Claire and her family their main and sole targets. "Damned By Dawn" first off, is held back by it's budget. It's a very small indie movie. But films like "Witchhouse", an oldie from Full Moon that was released back in 1999...managed to do wonders with a small budget. I think had ''Damned By Dawn" went more with the demonic possession/make-up fx aspect of trying to scare the viewer...instead of the old CGI floating demons route, it would've turned out better.
Any movie that has CGI demons floating around, and that doesn't have the proper budget to keep them from looking laughable and ridiculous...loses points from me. "Damned By Dawn" uses the floating cgi demons too much, and too often. Hence, it hurts it's cause. In contrast...there's a nice scene in the movie where one of the dead relatives of Claire's, returns to go on the attack...and bugs and such spill out of their body.
This as we get a look at their rotted flesh and demonic facial expressions. This sort of horror works better on a small budget. And as I said, they should've done more of this...and less cgi floating skeletons nonsense. The movie certainly is bloody, and gory...but some of the blood looks too fake, not red enough, and resembles slime with a red tint, more than human blood. These filmmaking mistakes all take a little wind out of the movies sails, and seeing as the characters aren't very deep, entertaining, of interesting...the movie suffers more than usual from a lack of good blood and decent monsters.
The script and plot work fine though. I get what the movie was about. I got what the filmmakers were trying to do, so atleast in retrospect...this isn't a film where the directors leave us twisting in the wind with unanswered questions and ridiculous "what ifs?" But in all honesty, I thought the movie needed more polishing. Adding a ton of new money to the movie would've helped it somewhat, in the creature department. But the characters needed more depth and better personality.
And the film needed more impact, especially in it's most important bread and butter scenes and sequences. Creep factor for the movie is high though, which is always a good thing. The scenery is very ripe with smoke, fog, creepy and eerie woods/forests, and this all is draped in a night-time backdrop. So certainly on the creepiness factor, the movie certainly succeeds. As does it with it's banshee character, with some nice visual effects on the sonic-scream she delivers, and the atmospheric disturbances she causes upon her appearances throughout the movie.
The films conclusion is pretty strong, delivering much suspense, thrills, and some cool visuals also. "Damned By Dawn" is a movie that pretty much splits hairs when it comes to successes and failures. While it doesn't get the extras such as the monsters, blood, and character-depth right...it's base objective of being a creepy and somewhat original -- supernatural horror movie, with strong "Evil Dead" influences, manages to for the most part, succeed.
Positives:Good directing, and a good attempt at creating creepy and eerie overtones/environment for the characters to play out the story in. The Banshee character was a very intriguing villainess. A strong ending also.
Negatives:Should've lost the cgi skeletons. Some of the characters lacked depth, and the blood should've been better created.
Overall:Two stars out of four.
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