I recently had the privilege of checking out one of Image Entertainment's newest releases, DAMNED BY DAWN. I posted the trailer back in May of this year and have been looking forward to this film ever since. The trailer was amazing and I was hoping the movie would be as good as the trailer made it seem to be. Well, I am happy to say I was not disappointed. In fact, the movie wasn't just as good as the trailer made it look, but it was even better. DAMNED BY DAWN was written and directed by Brett Anstey. This was Mr. Anstey's first feature film, and he has set the bar extremely high. Here is the basic plot from the Image Entertainment website:
Spoken of only in fearful whispers, a supernatural force holds a chilling grip over a remote, primitive farming community where Claire (Renee Wilner) arrives to visit her ailing grandmother. On her deathbed, the old woman warns Claire about the cost of interfering with a powerful spirit coming to claim her soul, and when the rest of the family fails to heed these ancient traditions, the dead are called up from their graves for a bloody night of retribution that leaves carnage and monstrous mayhem in its wake! A riveting roller coaster of terror in the tradition of The Evil Dead and Drag Me to Hell, this acclaimed new vision of horror reveals that there truly are things in the night much more frightening than death!
I almost hate to do a review of this film because I don't believe I have the vocabulary to properly explain how good this film is. Usually I start a review pointing out any negatives of a film, and then point out all the positives in order to end on a good note. With this film, I have absolutely nothing negative to say. Everything about this film is wonderful in my opinion.
The acting is top notch, even though the film does not contain any "big name" actors, at least that I am familiar with. I really like when movies, especially Horror movies, use newcomers and lesser known actors. It adds to the believability of the film and makes the characters much more believable.
The story is also a great one, a supernatural tale of a banshee, who's scream wakes the dead!
The dead come back as flying skeletons, some shrouded in a cloaks and resembling the grim reaper. The plot is simple and easy to follow, which lets you not have to worry about following a complicated story line, and lets you concentrate on the real star of this film, which is the visuals.
Visually, this is one of the most stunning films I have ever seen. The direction and cinematography are spot on and truly make this film. The entire film is very dark and atmospheric, with blues and grays being the primary colors in the film. Rolling fog and eerie music really sets a creepy tone for the film.
The film is not extremely gory, although there is one particularly gory scene, but gore is a not the main effect in this film. The main effects are those of the banshee and the ghost-like skeleton creatures. The film is very spooky overall, and actually gave me a few big scares..something that is very rare with most films these days. I have seen enough Horror films to usually know when a big jump scare is coming. I can usually always tell by the music or other clues, so I am prepared and I don't let them catch me off guard. I was not able to do that with this film. I actually jumped a couple times after being startled by this film. Kudos to the filmmakers for that!
Overall this is by far one of the best Horror films I have seen in years. In fact, I am going to go on and say that this is one of my new favorite Horror films of all time. Definitely in my top 10....maybe even in my top 5 Horror movies of all time! The description on the DVD describes the film as a "roller coaster of terror in the tradition of THE EVIL DEAD and DRAG ME TO HELL". This is a perfect description of this film. It really is a perfect blend of those two films. If you are an EVIL DEAD fan, you should love this movie. In fact, any Horror fan should love this film. This is one I will definitely be watching again very soon!
DAMNED BY DAWN is available now on both DVD and Blu-ray and contains the following special features:
* Cast Audio Commentary
* Crew Audio Commentary
* "Making Of" Documentary
CLICK HERE to visit the film's official website and watch the trailer
CLICK HERE to purchase the DVD or Blu-ray
CLICK HERE to visit the official website of Image Entertainment