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Monday, November 1, 2010

[5.25/10] Damned by Dawn (2010)

Damned by Dawn (2010)

Premiered last year at the 'Screamfest Horror Film Festival', but wide released in 2010, "Damned by Dawn" is a spooky Aussie horror flick, where a supernatural force holds a chilling grip over a remote, primitive farming community where Claire 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. "Damned by Dawn" is clearly inspired by Sam Raimi's "Evil Dead" series, and while it's a good campy fun, the film is, sadly, not on par with the popular horror franchise, as it's only mildly scary and at times pretty cheesy. However, if it weren't the silly looking flying skeletons and the super-lame special effects, "Damned by Dawn" could have been a great little horror gem. Despite the obvious low budget, the film has pretty slick visuals and decent production values. The wood scenery is highly atmospneric, especially during night scenes, and the dark, muted colors of the visuals set quite a grim mood. Plus, the cave sequence is thoroughly chilling and truly claustrophobic. Having said that, the smoke effects are a bit overdone and overused, which isn't really necessary, because the film looks good enough without them. "Damned by Dawn"is certainly not scary, and yet it's truly creepy. The 'Mother of Sorrow' looks pretty terrifying and her insane screaming totally gave me the chills. The acting in this film ranges from mediocre to decent. Renee Willner as the main character, Claire, gives a an above average performance, if a bit over-the-top - she does a good job overall, and the fear is written all over her face constantly. Dawn Klingberg as Claire's grandma, Nana, also deliver a good performance - she looks pretty spooky here, and she's completely convincing throughout the film. The acting from the supporting cast is just mediocre and pretty unmemorable. Overall, "Damned by Dawn" is visually-striking, creepy and fairly entertaining, but it's hugely let down by its cheesiness.

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