12th Sep2018

‘The Dawnseeker’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Franziska Schissler, Alexander Kane, Jason Skeen, Khu, Alex Giuffreda, Leonard Jackson | Written and Directed by Justin Price

the-dawnseeker-poster

2245, the Earth’s sun has dwindled and no longer provides the energy needed to sustain human life. Five hired mercenaries travel to an uncharted planet to collect a rare mineral known as stardust to replenish the dying star. After their spaceship crashes on the alien planet, they are stalked and hunted by a creature far more advanced than anything they have ever encountered before.

Opening with a scene that is a blatant rip-off of The Terminator, complete with robots walking over a skull-filled landscape and then cutting to a scene with an ED-209 wannabe, is probably not the best way to introduce your movie – reminding your audience of bigger-budgeted and more well-made films is not the best, or brightest, way to kick of ANY low-budget movie; let alone one that is clearly trying so desperately to integrate itself into the pantheon of great sci-fi… because great sci-fi this is not.

Instead The Dawnseeker is more like the third and fourth Nemesis movies, in that it works well with what it has – a low budget, an amateur(ish) castnd buckets of imagination; but there’s just something a little “off” about the entire production. Maybe it’s because the director, Justin Price, is trying TOO hard. He’s clearly striving for Terminator/Aliens/Predator levels of sci-fi action on a budget that wouldn’t have even covered the cost of catering on the aforementioned films. It doesn’t help that the script is packed with every genre cliche going and has dialogue that sounds like it was written by a kid playing with his action figures. That’s if you can hear the dialogue that is – between mumbled delivery and some terrible sound mixing you might be better off watching this one with HoH subtitles on!

What saves The Dawnseeker somewhat are the visuals. There has obviously been some thought put into the production design: the costumes look great; the sets; in particular the spaceships, look fantastic; and the films “big bad” really looks the part – with what is clearly a solid mix of practical and CGi effects work coming together to create a very formidable monster. But then, ultimately, all the thoughtfulness put into the visuals is let-down by some truly terrible CGI laser gun effects and an over-abundance of [really, REALLY, bad] CGI blood splatter!

Perfectly timed to cash in on the release of The Predator (shades of The Asylum’s usual scheduling), The Dawnseeker is an odd film. Had everything been played a bit more tongue-in-cheek then the low-budget, somewhat amateurish, nature of the film could have been written off as a more playful aspect of the production (much like how Troma and The Asylum overcome their films’ shortcomings); but instead everything is taken FAR too seriously and in the end filmmaker Justin Price’s loftier ideas for the film simply fall flat.

The Dawnseeker is available On Demand (across the US), from Uncork’d Entertainment, now.

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