Friday, June 08, 2007

At Dawn they Sleep – review

Directed by: Brian Paulin

Release Date: 2000

Contains spoilers

Sometimes there is something to be said for a good concept behind a film, even if the film is of a low budget… sometimes. Sometimes a good concept is absolutely wasted.

The concept behind this film is good. Two drug dealers,
Ian (Rich George) and Stephen (Brian Paulin) are turned into vampires by angels. You see the angels aren’t that nice. Having defeated the demons, when they tried to refuse God, the angels believed that they would get the earth as a reward. The humans got it instead, which has upset said angels. They change the dealers into vampires as part of an army that will wipe out humanity. The demons like the world as it is and convince Stephen to turn against the angels…

Not a bad opening premise and you’d think at this point I’d take you through some finer plot points but... there aren’t any. That’s it folks. The plot (what little there is) lurches uncontrollably,
which is the first of the negatives about the film that I’m going to raise. It has no coherence and absolutely no narrative. Let us take the ending – as you’d be a martyr to the cause to actually get there. Stephen has been made into a demon vampire by the demon Lynxvosmia (who according to the credits plays himself – how pretentious). He kills the Angel that turned him, Angelene (Jill Cordeiro). He fights with Ian and reveals he has captured Ian’s angel Terrie (Jen Glendyne).

Okay, still with me, next Ian spits something – what we do not know - in his erstwhile friend’s face. Stephen is in pain and Terrie kills him. The demon kills Terrie so Ian decays and some more angels decide they need another plan. One cuts a tree, liquid pours out onto one angel who is writhing ‘erotically’ on the floor. A corpse appears and lays upon her and blood pours from the sky. Fin. And what the Hell was that about? I can’t even be bothered picking out the obvious logic holes as the scenes have no narrative meaning. The whole film is like that.

Then there are the effects. Poor. I’d have forgiven a lot in respect of the effects if there had been a decent story; after all they are working on a budget here – allegedly $6000. But they are poor and they set the bar too high. It is a brave move to have a car plough through a building's wall in a film of so low a budget, but when the interior shot is obviously a plywood mock-up (without a roof) any suspension of belief dies with the crummy set.

Casting was also a problem Ian and Stephen have the parts because they are behind the whole mess. Sorry lads but you didn’t look right, by any stretch of the imagination. Add to that the fact that no one in the film seemed to be able to act, plus the poor quality of the dialogue. There is one scene with a rival drug dealer that contained film unrelated dialogue, which was so much a Kevin Smith rip off it was painful to watch, despite being some of the better written dialogue.

Lore wise we are in strange territory – vampires created by angels. They have no major weaknesses except damage to the heart or their angel dying. They change into vampires in cocoons and as a demon vampire Stephen seems to be able to project tentacles. Was there more lore? Possibly, but without meaningful narrative it was a little hard to tell.

All in all a really poor effort. The initial premise was interesting but needed a story to back it up. 0.5 out of 10 is for the premise, and shame on you for wasting it.

The imdb page is here.

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