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By James Whittington, Sunday 24th February 2013
Before Dawn - DVD Review
Extras: Making Of Feature, Outtakes, Raw Footage, Trailer, Director's Commentary
There are many husband and wife teams out there in the entertainment industry, but few have delivered such a stunning feature movie debut as Dominic Brunt and Joanne Mitchell. Before Dawn is an emotional and brutal horror movie that crosses genres, taking the shambling zombie into more dramatic territory.
Alex (Brunt) and Meg's (Mitchell) marriage is hanging by a thread. The solution seems simple - a romantic holiday to an idyllic cottage in the Yorkshire Dales. This is the chance both of them need to find themselves and rediscover their love for one another. But the Yorkshire Dales aren't romantic and the idyllic cottage isn't too peaceful! The weekend that starts out as an opportunity for love and affection, takes an unexpected turn; becoming a fierce fight for survival as it becomes clear that they’re not alone in this rural haven.
Compelling and satisfying, this is a heart-breaking gut-muncher that pulls at the heartstrings whilst delivering bold and gory scares. Directed by Brunt - a man who really knows his horror - Before Dawn can be described as intelligent horror; its not all just blood and guts, there's a story arc that slowly unfolds itself and at times the undead become secondary to the story. But when they do show themselves, Brunt keeps them upfront and hungry.
Brunt and Mitchell give solid and honest performances; you connect with their characters and the hopeless situation they are caught in and when bad things start to happen or back-story is revealed, you find yourself emotionally caught up in it all. Then Stephen, played by Nicky Evans turns up totally out of the blue and the movie takes another sinister turn, delving into even darker territory.
Mark Illis produced a fully rounded script, based on a story from Mitchell that never wastes a line to keep the narrative moving whilst 2BaldiesFX provide some blood-drenched set-pieces that hammer home the desperate and claustrophobic situation in which the main characters find themselves. Both of these collide to provide one of the most effective scenes I’ve see in a horror movie in years. I won’t give anything away but its set in the cellar and had tears welling up in my eyes. Superb performances from all concerned. The score from Thomas Ragsdale is thoughtful and never takes over scenes; instead it underlines the tension and is at its most effective during the reel.
Before Dawn is horror at its best and a stunning debut from Dominic Brunt and Joanne Mitchell. Long may this team provide us with superior scares.
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