There were two things about this movie that were absolutely fantastic: One was the poster. Just take a look at it. All of them actually (below), but specifically the one with Najarra Townsend on it. It just screams old school grind-house, doesn't it? It's one of the best we've seen this year.
The other thing that we just loved about Dawning was Najarra Townsend. Not only is she a little hottie, but she carried most of the weight of this movie on her back.
Aside from those two things, the rest of Dawning was unfulfilled potential and tedium.
Dawning is the story of a dysfunctional family getaway at some creepy cabin in the deep woods of Minnesota. Overbearing dad, compensating step mom, whiny slacker son and pouty sister decide it's a good idea to hole up together in a cabin that's about as small as a photo mat, despite the fact that they all pretty much hate each other.
There's also a dog. I'm pretty sure she hates everyone too, because they wont let her in the house.
They spend the beginning of the movie quarreling, snapping at one another, and mean mugging... until the dog shows up bleeding to death. Also, a creepy stranger shows up covered in blood! Here's where it gets interesting, right? Well... The stranger is acting all frantic and paranoid, talking about some kind of evil outside that killed his girlfriend. They wrestle him to the ground and cover him with a rifle, which he takes from them, which they take back, and he basically just adds to the quarreling, snapping at one another and mean mugging.
Much like an episode of Family Ties (sans being enjoyable), we're treated to cheesy dialogue and tedious family melodrama for the rest of the movie, until the ending. I won't even get into the ending.
I can see what director Gregg Holtgrewe was going for with Dawning, and I wish he had been able to pull it off. The dynamic of family distention against the backdrop of some creepy shit going on in the woods is interesting enough, but in the case of Dawning, there was just too much subtlety. For example, throughout the movie there were bits where characters would hear other characters say something that they didn't say, which inflamed the tension between them. That was neat. We just needed more of that. I can see some people loving this as an exercise in indie film making, but I think most horror fans will end up feeling cheated.
Did we mention how much we liked Najarra Townsend?
The Master Says- C- Dawning felt like a stage play for most of the running time. A stage play about family troubles. There are subtle hints here and there pointing towards something creepy going on around the characters, but unfortunately, that's never really explored. Had the director focused a bit more on the horror aspect of things, this might have been a good watch. As it stands though, it's all rather dull and boring. Not a total loss, but very underwhelming.
Final Thoughts- They really are awesome looking posters.