A weekend in the country to heal the wounds of a crumbling marriage is the start of something much bigger in this British horror from first time director Dominic Brunt. With no phone reception, the couple, played by Brunt and his real life wife Joanne Mitchell, are unaware of the looming apocalypse affecting the larger cities. But then neither is the film to a certain extent.
Sticking to the formula of less is more, Before Dawn places characterisation before bloodshed to provide a more emotional kind of zombie film. Brunt’s direction isn’t particularly strong, but he certainly works well with what he’s got. A claustrophobic toe-to-toe with one of the undead in a garage is unbearably tense. Speaking of the zombies, they are uniformly used as metaphors in horror and here they are shorthand for the couple’s failings: infidelity, alcoholism and employment. As scales fall from the couple’s eyes, the assault on their cottage grows.
A tight and unsettling piece of work, with violence shocking because it is so sparse, Before Dawn isn’t an exemplar horror. But with a finale that proves the end justifies the means, it’s certainly worth pursuing.
Original review at http://filmink.com.au/reviews/before-dawn-dvd/
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My name is John Noonan. I’m a freelance writer that specialises in arts and entertainment. From genre flicks to chick flicks, I love the stuff. So much so, I started a film review blog at earlybirdfilm.wordpress.com. I also contribute to online and hard copy press, including FilmInk magazine.
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