DawnDirected by: Jay Reel
Starring: Ray Boucher, Kacie Young, Mindy Raymond
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I
had absolutely no hopes going into this one. I’d never heard of it
before it showed up in my mailbox, and from the look of the cover I
shouldn’t have expected much more than standard lowbudget fare. To make
matters worse, I read the back and found out that the film was about
vampires. Greaaat. Is there possibly a more overused creature for low
budget flicks, besides zombies?

Little did I know that Dawn is a genuinely original take on a genre that’s been stale for way too long.

The Film-

Dawn
(Kacie Young) is a vampire. She’s also a 9 year-old girl. Her father
John (Ray Boucher) is the only one who knows about what she is, and
they drive around together leading a pretty nomadic existence. The life
is pretty hard for both of them and especially on John.. since he’s
human. He has the misfortune of falling love with a vampire and having
his child turn out to be one also. His wife died during childbirth- so
he was thrown into caring for this little girl even though he’s not
fully sure about what she needs. The vampires of this story are
different than most. Sunlight doesn’t affect them, and neither do
religious symbols of any kind. They also have a sixth sense of sorts
that they use to locate people who are diseased and dying- thus
allowing them to kill without making people suffer.

Dawn

John
drives his daughter around, allowing her to drink his own blood to tide
her over between feedings as they travel from town to town- so that
cops don’t get suspicious. It’s hard dealing with this girl on the edge
of puberty who wants a normal social life that she’ll never be able to
gave. She’s also very scared about being able to control herself….
she’s got a bit of a temper, and it’s hard not to abuse her physical
power to get what she wants. She doesn’t have her mother to teach her
how to do these things and although John does his best, well, he’s only
human.

Meanwhile, 
a psychic whose mother was killed by a bloodsucker is hunting down our
young heroine. He’s been following the duo’s tracks for years-
investigating and suspicious deaths when someone was sick or drying and
suddenly expired… with teeth marks on their neck. As he gets closer
to the father-daughter team things start to seem more and more hopeless
for them.

Dawn

The Judgement-

Let
me get something straight. I hate kids in movies. Hate’m. I want to
pull a Stephen King and kill off whatever annoying snot-nosed brat
shows up to ruin my movies. Like that little spoon-wielding bastard from Mimic.
It’s very rare to find a child actor who’s believable and can pull off
a sympathetic performance without wishing its mother had pulled an
Andrea Yates on it.

That
said, this film works based on the performance of Kacie Young. She’s a
very talented young actress- completely believable as this little
confused girl who doesn’t kn0w what she is. If they didn’t have her,
this film would’ve fallen apart- she is key to the emotional scenes of
this movie.

I have to also say that this film managed to shock me during a few points, mostly because I grew to really like the characters and
didn’t want anything to happen to them. You’ll feel bad for this poor
kid who just wants to be normal, able to have friends and play with
people her age.

Dawn
is a breath of fresh air in the crappy, gothic sludge that the vampire
genre has become. It does what it wants, and deals with issues of
abandonment and loneliness in a way that not many other films do. It’s
not the most polished film in the world, make sure not to forget that
this is a low budget flick and the typical things apply, such as some
spotty acting and almost laughable dramatic scenes. It’s really
engaging though, and ends in a way that makes you wish you could see
more of the story. It’ll stick in your head, either way.

The Sight and Sound-

Shot
in B&W Fullscreen with a 2.0 Dolby Digital Mix, yes, it’s digital
and shot on the cheap, but it’s got a good look to it- reminding you of
an older film or perhaps a Twilight Zone episode.

Dawn

The Extras-

Nothing much here, unfortunately. Tempe usually does such a great job with extras, too!

Gag Reel
- This is actually really good stuff. It’s 17 minutes long, and a lot
of behind the scenes goofs- it’s great to see the interaction between
Ray Boucher and Kacie Young. They’re really good together and you can
see that Ray took a lot of time to really get to know her, make her
laugh, and create a relationship between them that’s genuine in the
film.

Commentary with Cast and Crew-
The director Jay Reel (who also played the psychic) and main cast
members talk about the film. Honestly not the most interesting
commentary around- it seems hard to get the young lead to talk much.
I’d rather have had another featurette about the making of this film,
but oh well..

The Packaging-

Horrible cover art. They really could’ve (and should’ve) done better with this one.

The Lowdown-

At
least give this one a rent. I only wish the dvd contained more info on
the filming of this one, but the film is more than enough reason to
pick it up.

The Movie- 8.5/10 The Disc- 5/10