Movie Review: Before Dawn – 2012 – directed by Dominic Brunt

Posted: April 19, 2013 in horror
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

An estranged couple’s take a break in the country to try and help save their relationship. Little do they know that they’re soon to have some unexpected guests….

Zombies are everywhere these days (not literally), they’re in books, games, board games, and most of all movies. It seems to be the craze for first time horror directors to try and break out with a hit undead movie. With so many made, it’s hard for many to stand out and be truly memorable. It doesn’t help that the benchmarks in zombie cinema (George Romero’s ‘Dead Trilogy’ being the landmark s) have set the bar ridiculously high. So high in fact that not even Romero has managed to capture the greatness that made his name.

This British production aims to have that special something to make itself stand out. Directed by first timer Dominic Brunt (from Britain’s very own soap opera ‘Emmerdale’ ) it shows a little promise at the start but that quickly fades.

I got excited about the film when I found it in a dvd store. The cover features an army of zombies and a man standing, shotgun in hand looking out onto an undead city. The reviews on the box stating ‘unforgettable… the most gut-wrenching modern zombie flick in years’ from Hollywood news, ‘Bloody Terrifying…’ from Starbust and ‘stunning cinematography’ from Little White Lies led me to believe what I was about to watch would truly be great. After watching the film I’m wondering if I saw the right film. What I saw was far from what was described or pictured.

From the outset the cinematography is very iffy. The camerawork goes from being passable (the scenic shots) the downright awful (zombie attacks). The lighting is appalling throughout with the camera being constantly overexposed. It just looks awful. I have no idea what the reviewer from ‘Little white Lies’ was watching but it can’t have been this. I’ve seen student films that look more polished. The music starts out ok with a sort of ’28 days later’ vibe but quickly transcends into a repetitive mess.

The first 20 minutes built up the tension pretty well and I was thinking that it may make up for the camerawork but alas no. It quickly spiralled down the hole of awfulness with a tired script, some awful acting and appalling action.

The film tries to be a ‘character driven piece’ instead of the usual everyone dying zombie film. This would work if there was a good script behind the acting. I felt nothing towards the main characters. I just wanted to see them die at the hands of the zombies during the ‘epic slaughterfest’ (as stated on the box). Even that failed to happen. in the whole film there are 6 zombies.  3 of which don’t appear until the final 2 minutes of the film. When the zombies are on screen they just feel like people running around after one another. They never feel like mindless bloodthirsty creatures, but more like people acting. I’ve never been one for the ‘running’ zombies but at least films like ’28 days later’, ‘Dawn of the Dead 2004’ or even the resident evil franchise, but at least these films handle the zombies well and actually make you fear for some of the characters (slightly less so for resident evil).

In fact the whole film feels like a student made version of the opening of ’28 Weeks later’ with none of the tension, acting skills, script or direction. In that film I was on the edge of my seat wanting to know what was going to happen. The music and the frantic pace push everything forward perfectly. This film does none of that (well it tries to). When the zombies do come the music gets faster and they employ the ‘shakey cam’ style. It just doesn’t work here. I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve seen a more boring zombie attack in a film then the 2/3 in this film.  You know a film is bad when you start thinking about the practicality of a zombie and how their motor functions work etc…

I can happily say that this is easily one of the worst zombie films I’ve ever seen (possibly in the bottom 3) and easily one of the worst films I’ve seen in general. It has barley any redeeming factors and really is bottom of the barrel. I’m even more annoyed at the lies the box told me. There was no man with a shotgun facing a city in the snow (I forgot to mention that before but the man on the cover is standing in a little grassy patch in amongst a snowy wasteland.)

I do not recommend anyone see this film and I really hope that they change the dvd packaging in the future as not to trick viewers into picking up a film different from that on the box. DO NOT BE FOOLED BY THE GOOD REVIEWS!!!!!!! 2/10 (for an OK idea)

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