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.
Eugene Tay is a retired paranormal investigator and the author of the book Supernatural Confessions.