This movie requires the viewer to have a lot of patience. The pace is like a typical art film - slow dialogue with long drawn out scenes of nothingness. There are some stand-alone scenes where the protagonist, Sister Rose, dream sequences have pretty awesome effects but the horror doesn’t connect. As soon as it reeled the audience in, giving us a sense that something terrible is about to happen, the scene ends, and we are left feeling high and dry. If you have watched the 1 minute trailer above, all the best bits of the movie are in there.
Some people love movies like this. Most viewers expecting an adrenaline fueled horror movie would find this movie lacking in expectation. Whenever I see a movie getting nominated for film festival awards, I can already guess that the film has all the excitement of watching paint dry.
The only reason you would keep watching is out of curiosity for how it would end for the tormented protagonist, Sister Rose.
From the point of view of a paranormal investigator, The Dawn plays out closer to how an actual diabolical possession would take place: First, it would come through dreams. The recurring nightmares wear the victim down, creating random but brief moments of odd behaviour.
The victim starts doubting herself but finds it hard to share her experiences with anyone because she doesn't want people to think that she's crazy. Sometimes she isn’t sure if it's all a figment of her imagination and trauma from her childhood experience. Her faith in her religion starts to waver.
When Sister Rose odd behaviour started escalating, the priest said that she must be exhausted and recommended more rest. That’s generally the common response people have for those who are afflicted. We rather assume that such behaviour is due to fatigue or stress than to confront the possibility of the supernatural; and when the affliction and hallucinations got worse the priest told her it must be a test from God and read her verses from the bible.
Another scene that many people who have had supernatural encounters will find familiar is that they get attacked in their sleep with bruises, like finger marks, appearing on their body in places they couldn’t possible inflict upon themselves.
The Dawn reveals itself at the end to be a prequel to a famous horror movie based on real life events. The GIF below is a hint. Fans of horror movies should be able to recognise this iconic house.
I give the movie a 2 star rating out of 5. If you would like to reach me, the best channel to do so is via Facebook.
Recurring Dreams at 3.33 a.m.
Confession by G.T. (Writer has requested to remain anonymous)
My supernatural experience happened 6 years ago (2014), and it goes like this:
I had to travel to Jakarta, Indonesia for a long term project work. I rented a small room in a hostel for the duration. My work place is in a University town, so most of the people staying in the hostel are university students, and only a couple of working adults.
The place is nice and clean, I stayed on the second floor, and I got a room with a private bathroom. There is a window next to my bed, and there were no trees outside my window (disclaimer for the later part).
On the first night, I slept early, around 9 p.m. if I remember correctly. In my dreams, I heard a voice calling me by my nickname (only my parents and brothers call me by this name, nobody else knows about this nickname).
I woke up with a start, goosebumps all over my arms, and saw the clock - It was 3:33 a.m.
Then I heard scratching sounds on my window... right next to my bed. The scratching sound was coming from outside the window... and like I said, my room was on the second floor, and there were no trees outside. So it can't possibly be the wind blowing the tree branches against the window.
Fear gripped me suddenly and I remembered praying immediately calling upon the name of Jesus Christ.
When I started uttering the first 2 words "Dear Lord...", there was immediately 3 loud banging sounds on my window. Almost like someone punching against my window in anger.
The scratching stopped. The room was so quiet I could hear the sound of my own heartbeat.
Spooked but exhausted, I tried to go back to sleep. That's when the scratching started again.
The fear I experienced at that point was piercing, I can remember; a gripping chill that shot right up my spine. I don't think I have ever felt that sort of fear, ever, in my life. It could be just my fight or flight response or God was trying to warn me of the danger, because I know whatever that is outside my window is definitely something that isn't normal.
I started to pray again, but this time, the scratching kept on going as I prayed. My prayers were simple, but I don't remember everything that I prayed, only the last few words: "Dear Lord, let no evil harm me!"
After I uttered those words, the scratching stopped, followed by three banging sounds on my window again. The banging was so strong this time that I thought the glass was going to crack.
After the scratching and banging stopped, the rubbish bin in my room suddenly shifted itself and toppled.
I pulled the blanket over my head and started praying. I shut my eyes tight and prayed for whatever it was in my room to leave me alone. I was breaking out in cold sweat and just kept praying over and over again.
When I opened my eyes, it was already morning. I must have fallen asleep again in the middle of my prayers or the entire experience was just a dream.
The second night, as I slept the same dream came to me again: A voice called me by my nickname and I sat up from my bed. I saw the clock, 3:33 a.m. The whole ordeal repeated itself - the scratching, the praying, the banging. It happened again on the third night. This time, I took a pen and drew circles on my arm.
When I woke up the next day, the drawing on my arms were visible. Whatever had happened I had just confirmed it wasn't a dream. I called my dad and related the experience to him. Instead of pushing it aside as just my imagination, he listened to me intently and said he would pray with me over the phone. We did this every night for the next week or so, long distance phone call with him and me just praying together.
The encounter stopped. I continued staying in this hostel and in the same room for 2 years.
A month before my project ended, and before my move back to Singapore, I took a weekend off and flew back to see my family. It is always nice to be back home.
But on my first night back to Singapore, while I was sleeping... I had a very scary dream. In my dream, I woke up and saw the clock, it was 3:33 a.m... then in the corner of my room, I saw a dark figure. I can't see his or her face, but I saw it lifted a finger to point at me, and spoke in a raspy, screechy voice: "Don't you dare leave that room. Come back... come back...."
I woke up, shocked, and soaked in perspiration. The next day, I called the company and told them I'm extending my leave till the end of the project and arranged for a colleague to pack my stuff and courier it back.
It has been 6 years since and I haven't gone back to Indonesia or had that dream again.
Edited by Eugene Tay for grammar and story flow.
Illustration by Syed Wilson.
If you or anyone you know have a supernatural confession to tell, submit your stories via our website.
The Invisible Man (2020), while not strictly a horror movie per se, has all the elements of what spooks us out when we are alone. Are we being watched? Is there an entity in the corner staring at us that we can't see? When we witness something being moved by an invisible force and we question our sanity because no one believes our stories. These are the similarities that The Invisible Man shares with your standard ghost stories, except in the case of The Invisible Man, the monster is a real person who can pretty much stab you with a knife. This gives new meaning to the Chinese saying, "Humans are scarier than ghosts."
The Invisible Man, originally written by H.G. Wells and published in 1897 has had many movie reincarnations over the years. The 2020 remake takes a different approach from its predecessors: The Invisible Man (1933) and Hollow Man (2000) show the antagonist's downward spiral from man to monster, but the 2020 version skips all that drama and tells the story from the perspective of the victim. This gave what would have been a suspense-thriller genre a dash of horror.
The first half of the show is a solid case study for anyone who wants to learn how to write and direct suspense: Wide shot of room, and empty hallways, letting audience’s imagination fill in the rest of the blank. The anxiety builds up to a pay off that is cleverly done without giving too much of the climax away too fast, too soon. The movie also didn’t waste time in trying to establish characters and backstory with lengthy exposition. The relationship between the protagonist and antagonist is revealed throughout the movie, giving the audience just enough information to understand the relationship without breaking the pace of the story.
The scream lead, Elisabeth Moss, looks like an aged Drew Barrymore but for what she lacks in looks, she make up for it with superb acting. We see Moss soloing in most of the scenes switching through different levels of fear - Fear in an abusive relationship; fear from psychological trauma; fear from chilling realisation, fear from self-doubting of mental capacity; fear from isolation; fear from direct invasion of personal space; fear of captivity; fear from seeing people getting murdered in front of her eyes. In some scenes, there was no dialogue and Moss had to emote only with her face. Imagine how different this movie would have been if they had cast that girl from Twilight (Kristen Stewart) for the role.
What If The Invisible Man Was Given an Asian Horror Make Over
Now this is where my creative juices kicks in. If I were given the task to adapt this to Asian horror, this is how I would have done it. (Note to producers: I’m available for hire.)
There are two mythologies that would work really well together which would give The Invisible Man (2020) the Asian twist it needs.
We fear ghosts because we cannot see them but they can see us. They can be in the same room with us, standing openly in the corner leering at us with malicious intent and we would be none the wiser. In the Asian version of The Invisible Man, I would bring the vengeful spirit back on the 7th day to haunt the living. The spirit would do all the things that was done in the Hollywood version of The Invisible Man except the haunting would take place in a tiny apartment befitting of Asian dwellings instead of a sub-urban American home.
And in the second part of The Invisible Man (2020), we see that in his non-invisible form, he looks very much like another popular Asian horror called the Orang Minyak. The term “orang minyak” literally means oily man in Malay. It is named as such because it is covered from head to toe in black oil-like substance.
Putting these two elements together, we can have a proper adaption that would work very well for the Asian audience. Is there any movie house out there who would like to take me up on this challenge?
Check out The Invisible Man trailer below. I give the movie a 4 star rating out of 5. If you would like to reach me, the best channel to do so is via Facebook.
Confession Journal is a collection of stories and reviews submitted by the public.