Before Dawn (2013)

Now this review will more than likely be slightly biased in some parts simply because this movie was filmed not so far from where I live.  Some say that the sprawling Lancashire and Yorkshire moorland is nothing short of being gods country and I have to agree.

And its this scenery that we see in the opening credits of Before Dawn.  The Yorkshire hills in all their glory baking in the bright, warm sunshine.

So what about the movie itself.

Husband and wife (and also in real life), Dominic Brunt (Alex) and Joanne Mitchell (Meg) are struggling to save their marriage.  There are obvious issues going on in their personal life so when Alex suggests going away for a weekend break to get away from work and to sort out their marriage problems, Meg agrees.

Its not long before they arrive at their destination, a small farmhouse in the idylic surroundings of Lancashire, hidden away in tree laden valley and away from all the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Now whilst this movie has been portrayed as yet another to be included within the zombie genre, there is more to it.

Speaking to director Dominic Brunt for a recent interview he did for this site, he says `the zombies are neither here nor there. They could be werewolves or vampires or aliens. It's about the breakdown of a relationship and themes of redemption. The zombies are purely allegorical. The fact that it gets really gory and violent is because I'm a massive horror fan and wanted to serve that side of things correct.'

So whilst many critics seemed to have panned this movie for the lack of gore, the lack of zombies and the lack of any notable action, then they have missed what the movie is really about.

And if I want to be really arsey over how wrongly many people portayed this movie, its no different in terms of context to, lets say, The Babadook?  Both movies are not just about `monsters` of some kind or another but more about emotional bonds and the breakdown of family relations.  The Babadook however seems to have gone down a storm around the world with many hailing as the best horror movie in recent times.

I digress.

Before Dawn is not a fast moving, all out action movie.  Its deep.  There is a lot of dialogue between Alex and Meg and you can feel that the underlying issues they are having are ready to surface at any point.  Its just a matter of time.

Its about midway through the movie when Meg goes out for a morning jog.  On her run she is attacked by a man who seems to be infected.  Obviously a zombie.

Its at this point in the movie where things slowly change.  From the quiet opening 30 minutes or so to a little more action in the form of a zombie inside the farmhouse garage, a stranger knocking on the door for help and of course the transformation of Meg from living person to a zombie.

This being Dominic`s first outing as director, writer and of course actor, its kinda refreshing to see someone who hasnt gone down the easy road and made just `another` zombie movie.  You know the ones, those with just too much gore and sillyness.

Instead he (and his wife) have brought to screen a simplistic and yet at times a harrowing movie.

Those who love zombie movies with the above mentioned gore and sillyness will hate Before Dawn.  Those who want something a little deeper and something with more substance will love it.

The acting is great, although I guess people from over the Pond will struggle at times with the broad Lancashire accents.  The location of the movie is simply wonderful (thats the bias in me) and the story is terrific.

And as for the music score, brought to us by the talented Thomas Ragsdale , its haunting and fits in perfectly with all of the scenes within the movie.

Im not going to say that this is a `perfect` movie as that would be wrong.  There are some flaws but none that go as far as to spoil it

So, and lets be honest, as a movie that was obviously made on a low budget, we have something of a diamond within the rough.

As Dominic`s directing and of course writing gets more refined in the coming years, I for one can see many more excellent movies coming from his and his wifes company Mitchell-Brunt.


Before Dawn (2013)

Synopsis (IMDB) : An estranged couple's vacation to save their troubled relationship goes awry when they find themselves under attack from the walking dead.

Directed by : Dominic Brunt

Written by : Mark Illis (screenplay), Joanne Mitchell (story)

Cast :  Dominic Brunt, Joanne Mitchell, Eileen O'Brien, Nicky Evans, Alex Baldacci, Alan French, Holly Illis

My Rating :