Damned by Dawn (Review)

Scary huh?

Bless ‘em for trying.

Australian cinema doesn’t have a history of producing decent horror films that dabble in the supernatural or unknown, in fact I can’t think of one.

This remake of the Evil Dead has changed that.

Wait it wasn’t a remake? It sure seemed like one!

A young couple Paul and Claire head to Claire’s former home on a remote farm in the country. The father Bill O’Neill is a bit rough and ready, the Nan is an invalid confined to bed and seemingly at death’s door, and the younger sister is hot jailbait with a local lad hovering about the place.

There is obviously a long-time bond between Claire and her Nan, who informs Claire that she is not afraid to die and that ‘a screaming spirit’ will come to collect her soon.

Lo and behold that very night said screaming spirit shows up, screaming shrilly and loudly. It is a banshee, though things don’t go according to Nan’s plans and Claire unknowingly dispatches the banshee before it is able to complete it’s task.

As a result the Undead are pissed at this interference with what should have been a routine passage to the afterworld. Enter dodgy as hell CGI ghosts – that can be shot with guns and splat against car windscreens – and more banshees. The upshot of all this is that the spirits can only be appeased by tasting the blood of the last of the O’Neills.

The set up only thankfully only takes 20 minutes and the last hour is Evil Dead lite all the way, with 1/2 glimpsed figures and shadows that suddenly appear next to, behind or in front of camera accompanied by the loud musical stab, and camera-work that should pay royalties to Sam Raimi and co.

There is precisely one good gore scene that takes place when Paul ‘returns from hiatus’ involving an unexplained new orifice which oozes bugs, and the acting is fairly consistently awful.

Again if you don’t try to make a film you can never achieve anything. It also makes sense if you are making a low budget horror film you study the most notable, creative and successful example of all time… but replacing the possessed with banshees and ghosts and ripping off practically every element in the far better Evil Dead is perhaps not the right way to go.

Final Rating – 5 / 10. Watch the Evil Dead again, it was the first and nearly 30 years later it is still streets ahead of this pale and obvious imitation.

About OGR

While I try to throw a joke or two into proceedings when I can all of the opinions presented in my reviews are genuine. I don't expect that all will agree with my thoughts at all times nor would it be any fun if you did, so don't be shy in telling me where you think I went wrong... and hopefully if you think I got it right for once. Don't be shy, half the fun is in the conversation after the movie.
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