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Dawn

You might go into this film with high expectations, but it will soon “Dawn” on you that you’re in for something much different than expected.

Here, Morbidly Beautiful ones, let me share the IMDb synopsis of this movie with you so you can get an idea of what quality of film to expect:

“A [sic] unsuspecting couple (Sarah French and Jared Cohn of Sorority of the Damned and Sharknado: Heart of Sharkness, respectfully) get into a ride-share only to find out that they may have to fight for their lives as the deranged driver (Jackie Moore, Westworld) puts them through life and death situations.”

I figured I was going to love Dawn (the directorial debut of Nicholas Ryan, who has a slew of low-budget genre titles to his name as Assistant Director) the second the opening titles kicked the door open with a nice, bassy thrum and Eric Roberts’ name popped up. Granted, he’s not in it for long, but the man can do no wrong in my eyes.

But how wrong I was.

There’s so much wrong with this movie that it would be mean-spirited to point everything out, so I’ll just hit the stuff in bold print.

Some actors clearly missed the Less-is-More class. The music, as atmospheric as it can be at times, is a bit too present throughout. There are plenty of scenes that would have been better off without so much of a soundtrack trying hard to set the mood. And, on first viewing, there were several times I was just like, “Enough already!”

The psycho narrator who opens the film and takes center stage not long after is utterly gorgeous, but she seems to have difficulty sticking with an accent, and “acting crazy” is not as easy as great actors like Nicholson, Spacey, and, hell, even Roberts make it look.

The lead is not really strong enough to carry the film.

Early on, I found myself hoping it was an anthology so I might not have to put up with the character for too long.

But, unfortunately, she sticks around and chews up so much of the scenery you can see the camera crew in the background laughing (metaphorically, if not literally).

For some reason, home invasion (this is more of a kidnapping) movies with chatty antagonists are all the rage nowadays.

Sometimes they delve into torture porn — I found myself almost praying for that with this one even though I’m not a fan — but the recurring theme seems to be the psycho or psychos trying to convince the viewer they’re the smartest people in the room.

Seven and Saw created some monsters, indeed.

This kidnapper is no exception, but the little flashes of narration throughout just come across as pretentious, as do her interactions with almost all the other characters.

Turns out she is the title character with a cult following as a vlogger on the “dark web” who specializes in snuff films.

A little after the halfway mark, I decided, you know what? Fuck Eric Roberts for being in this movie, and fuck Michael Paré, too, whom I barely recognized as a cop who pulls over the villainess.

Nah, I take that back. He was great in Eddie and the Cruisers, so I forgive him. Eric, too. You can’t begrudge a working actor a paycheck.

But damn. This was almost the equivalent of Ed Wood hiring Bela Lugosi and Bud Osborne for Bride of the Atom.

Sometimes, I miss the adult films of the old days that tried so hard to have a story. That defunct genre is where people who desperately wanted to be professional actors could at least bring a little joy to the masses with what passed for adult entertainment back then.

Sadly, with the advent of the Internet, there is no place to go for such actors except for low-budget genre pics like Dawn.

Do yourselves a favor and watch porn instead. This one’s a stinker.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 1.5

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