August 1, 2011

Quick Review: Dawning (2011)

There were two things about this movie that were absolutely fantastic:

One was the poster. Just take a look at it. It just screams Old School Grindhouse, doesn't it? It's one of the best posters that we've seen this year.

The other thing that we absolutely loved about Dawning, was Najarra Townsend. Not only is she a sexy little Hottie, but she carried most of the weight of this movie on her back, and she did so very well.

Aside from those two positive things though, the rest of Dawning was little more than unfulfilled potential and tedium.

I would like to fill her potential with my tedium.
Dawning is the story of a dysfunctional family getaway at some creepy cabin in the deep woods of Minnesota. Overbearing Dad, overcompensating 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 won't let her in the house.

What is going on here?
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 hold him at gunpoint (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.

I'm not sure if this is the brother or the crazy guy, because I'm pretty sure they were the same person.
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 filmmaking, but I think most Horror fans will just end up feeling cheated.

Did we mention how much we liked Najarra Townsend?

Because we do. We like her a lot.
Dawning felt like a Stage Play for most of its 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.


More Najarra Townsend is never a bad thing.


  1. Your right, that poster does look bad ass. Love you're blog!

  2. I know, right?

    And thanks for the love. We love nothing more than a horror loving lady!

  3. O God Thank you!

    I read so many positive reviews going into this movie... but I thought it was very disappointing, and sort of bland.

    The poster looked very coold... and it made it look like some sort of 'old-school throw back' horror film.