It's always nice when a horror movie comes along that isn't a remake or trading on the success of a well-loved title. Trouble is, we're not seeing many of those at the moment. Zombie movies in particular are being banged out by just about anyone with a movie camera and a number of scruffy mates to play the walking or running dead, usually with titles like '[something] of the dead' or similar, anything to link the new movie with an established classic. Now we have Damned by Dawn, an Australian film that links itself with Sam Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy through more than just the title – the press release is quoting a Quiet Earth review that asks "Sick of waiting for Evil Dead 4? Check out Damned by Dawn," and reviews suggest that first time director Brett Anstey apes Raimi's style to a degree that borders on plagarism.
Prompted by the arrival of a mysterious package from her terminally ill grandmother (Dawn Klingberg), Claire (Renee Willner) drags her reluctant new boyfriend, Paul (Danny Alder), off to meet her family at their remote country home where she hopes she will discover the motivations behind the unexpected gift. Things seem to be going well until Claire's heavily medicated gran begins rambling on about a female spirit she is expecting to come in the night to escort her body into the afterlife. That night, as a violent thunderstorm rocks the house, the family is awoken by a succession of piercing, otherworldly shrieks, which prove to be the cries of a banshee. As the terrifying sounds ring out, the dead are summoned to rise again, so beginning a waking nightmare for Claire and her family as the banshee and her army of the undead unleash their fury upon the living.
Whether the results borrow inventively from Raimi's trilogy or ineffectively ape it is something we'll have to wait a couple of months to judge. Damned By Dawn (cert. 15) will be released on DVD by Momentum Pictures on 7th March 2011 at the RRP of £15.99. Special Features include:
- Audio commentary by director and crew;
- Making-of featurette;