The Darkest Dawn (2016) Film Mini Review

The Darkest Dawn is a full length feature that is made by a production company based in Bristol, UK, with a relatively modest budget. It is a sci-fi horror similar to The Cloverfield where aliens have come to attack Earth. Except, this time they aim for United Kingdom instead of United States and they brought with them armies of …parasite bugs! Let’s see if this low-budget film manages to stand out from the pack!

The film begins normal enough with the point of view of a video camera, which is a gift to the main character, Sam, during her birthday by her family. Sam loves the camera so much that she uses it to document her family and her life almost all the time. We are shown the ordinary life of Londoners until a news report a spaceship shooting lasers from the sky at the capital. Immediately, the story moves its pace at a faster speed where Sam and her sister Chloe witness the alien killing their father and controlling his corpse into a bug-like monster.

New characters are introduced swiftly with some tensions between different groups of people. The director adds in enough personalities for each person and slowly brings out their characters as things progress. Human desperation and plight are brought out in each scene and you will witness Sam having to adjust to the post-apocalyptic world. There are guns and bloods and lots of actions with running sequence, but I’m surprised I don’t feel any motion sickness at all (compared to The Cloverfield which almost made me puked). I guess the video camera just have an excellent Optical Image Stabilisation :p

There are no music during the whole run and the movie only depends on sound designs and foleys to create tension and atmosphere. Their focus on sound designs elevate this film from a YouTube movie to a semi-professional film. Every steps, alien bugs crawling, explosions and guns fighting are brought out and complemented with appropriately powerful sounds/foley. This creates immersion into the film that makes me felt I’m the one holding the camera. Lastly, this film also focuses on something that most horror films don’t do : the Growth of the Characters. Sam is shown at first to be a normal naive girl and she starts to turn into someone without expression as she began to kill people for survival. The ending of the film is superb metaphor of her final transformation.

It is a film that depends on many unknown actors but it kept its pace through the story and engrosses the audience along the way. The shooting style through the video camera allows it to depict the growth of its main character and also bringing audience into the film world. For a low-budget film, the sound designs and special effects are top-notch. There are some scenes which lacked the tension needed and some actors do not act good enough, but it’s good outweighs the bad. This film deserves 7.5/10 for me!

 

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Anthony L Tjandra

A photographer and videographer that aims to capture the Heart behind the moments.

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