BEFORE DAWN (2013)
Directed by Dominic Brunt
Available on Amazon Prime Instant Video
A couple decide to leave their kids with their grandmother whilst they go away for a weekend break in the Yorkshire countryside. Alex is keen to mend his marriage to his wife Meg but she appears to want anything but a reconciliation, more interested on chatting on her mobile phone and getting work done. The morning after their first night at the cottage, Meg decides to go for a run whilst Alex tends to his hangover. During her run she encounters a crazed individual who chases her down and bites her on the leg. Rushing back to the cottage, Meg breaks down and tells Alex what has happened. After cleaning her wound, Alex attempts to call the police and his mother-in-law. Before the call is cut off, his mother-in-law mentions ‘something happening out there’. Meg slowly detoriates with her injury becoming infected. Alex must do whatever he can if he’s to save their lives and their marriage.
Zombie survival drama BEFORE DAWN is the directorial debut feature length film from Emmerdale actor Dominic Brunt who plays Paddy Kirk in ITV’s popular soap. Both Dominic and his real life wife Joanne Mitchell, who co-wrote the movie, star in the film as troubled married couple Alex and Meg. The awkward tension between the two is evident right from the very beginning and as a viewer, it’s uncomfortable to watch two individuals who shouldn’t be together pretending everything is okay in front of their kids. Even Alex’s mother-in-law has a dislike for Alex and to be honest, at the beginning of the film he isn’t a very likable character. As soon as the couple reach their country cottage destination, it’s Meg who becomes the arrogant one, shunning any attempt Alex makes to win her over. His attempt to encourage Meg to leave work behind and enjoy his company falls flat on its arse as Meg wants nothing to do with him, even forcing him to sleep on the couch. It’s no wonder he hits the bottle.
When Meg is bitten by a crazed stranger, I expected more emotional bonding between the couple but not even death’s door could keep Meg from requiring the attention of her mobile phone rather than Alex. The rest of the movie slips into a drag because of this lack of action or rather repetitive interactions involving Alex who wants to reconnect with Meg and Meg who clearly wants a divorce. Not even turning into the undead can change that fact.
BEFORE DAWN is a struggle to watch at times. There’s very little going on in the movie and the only moments of excitement involve zombies. A fight scene between Alex and a zombie and the initial scene of Meg being chased down on her morning run are the best bits of the film. The make-up effects for the zombies are incredible, creating vicious undead that really do look as they have an insatiable hunger for flesh. The fact that they run rather than walk make them far more terrifying, especially as they can crawl underneath cars too! Unfortunately, the zombie scenes are few and far between and the dialogue and performances that are left do very little to keep you interested in the story.
In terms of cinematography, BEFORE DAWN is shot rather well though the zombie scenes are shot using shaky cam to give an urgent, crazed vibe to match the rage of the zombies. This effect spoils the film a little as it would have been effective without the use of shaky cam which often feels cheap. Overall, the film has a great couple of scenes that will delight zombie fans but the rest of the running time is a complete bore.