QUIET COMES THE DAWN (2019)
Directed by Pavel Sidorov
Russian with English Subtitles
Sveta is celebrating her birthday and is overjoyed when her brother Anton, whom she hasn’t seen in ages, attends and stays the night. After experiencing a nightmare, she awakens to find Anton flinging himself out the window. A heartbroken Sveta, who’s now lost her brother and lost their mother when she was just a baby, feels lost and alone as the nightmares continue. Knowing that Anton too shared bad dreams, Sveta seeks help from a dream specialist who enlists her on his group dream therapy where she and three others will collectively lucid dream in a bid to rid them of their fears and anxieties. With Sveta’s mother rumoured to have belonged to a cult she was trying to escape, Sveta wonders if there is more to her nightmares than them being just bad dreams.
Russian horror QUIET COMES THE DAWN, also known in its native country as RASSVET, is an interesting premise as it explores a demon-worshipping cult and the links with sleep, springing the question that are these visions all in the lead characters head or is something supernatural at play? Wanting to keep viewers on their toes, the film slowly uncoils in a fashion that supports both theories however we have a feeling that these dreams are more real than what they appear.
When the film first approaches its group lucid dream experiments, I was excited at how the story might develop. Unfortunately, it’s at this moment when the film quickly loses its way and becomes a mismatch of good ideas and bad ones, mashed together to create a surreal scenario that loses the viewer’s attention as the characters’ fears come to life. Couple this with a twist that is glaringly obvious right from the start of the movie, QUIET COMES THE DAWN unfortunately runs out of steam fairly quickly in the film.
The way in which QUIET COMES THE DAWN has been edited makes the film feel disjointed at times as it struggles to build tension. There’s so many directions that the film could move in visually but just as you think the characters are going to explore this lucid shared dreamscape, it takes a step back as the characters retreat within themselves or turn upon one another, frightened of what they might encounter if they actually explore their unconscious.
Despite its thought-provoking concept, QUIET COMES THE DAWN just leaves confusion in its wake. Suffering from a loss of momentum and pace just hampers the overall delivery of the movie leading to a lacklustre climax.