11th May2021

‘Await the Dawn’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Dee Wallace, Bruce Davison, Courtney Gains, Vernon Wells, Josh Server, Gabrielle Stone, Hannah Leigh, Camillia Monet, Bobby Reed, Greg Christie, Jonathan Stoddard, Lovely Carroll, Chris Levine, Hannah Strasser, Justin Mabry | Written and Directed by Pablo Macho Maysonet IV

Annie (Dee Wallace) a desperate mother is traveling cross country with her family to seek professional treatment for her daughter’s drug addiction. Their plans are quickly derailed as Howard (Josh Server), a desperate man with a terrible secret, ambushes their RV at gunpoint. With little to no reason given, he instructs them to transport him as far away as possible. However, they are quickly cut off by a mysterious 9 year old girl. She may seem like a sweet all American girl, but deep inside, she harbors an immense otherworldly evil. The troubled family must now put their trust in their captor, as they try to survive the night…

How the hell did a film featuring a tremendous ensemble cast that includes genre icons such as Vernon Wells (Mad Max 2, Commando), Dee Wallace (Cujo, The Howling), Courtney Gains (Children of the Corn) and Bruce Davison (X-Men 2, Insidious: The Last Key) fly totally under my radar? I’ll be brutally honest, despite writing about a few of the films announcements years ago I’d forgotten all about Pablo Macho Maysonet IV’s film… So much so that I switched this one on not even (I thought) knowing anything about the film and finding myself stunned by the cast list as it unfurled on screen.

Await the Dawn shares a LOT in common with Stuart Gordon’s From Beyond, insomuch as it’s inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and the lore he wrote about ancient evil and other dimensions. Hell, the film even has a character called Howard Phillips after the iconic writer! The force majeure here is an experiment to talk to the other side, to speak to the dead. Only it goes a little, nay a lot, haywire and instead of talking to the dead the scientists (including the aforementioned Howard Phillips) open a portal to another dimension, allowing a malevolent force to make passage to our world, taking the form of a seemingly sweet, innocent, young girl called Maggie; who’s the spitting image of Phillips’ dead daughter!

Only Maggie isn’t that innocent… gloriously tearing off heads, poking out eyes, munching on brains and ripping flesh like nobodies business! All rendered in brutally bloody, practical effects – in a world of CGI creations the practical effects work on display here are a gloriously grisly breath of fresh air, As is the film itself – an old-school feeling horror; the kind of genre film that, in the 80s, would’ve been something of a midnight movie hit. Taking elements of Lovecraft; throwing in a frison of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead (substituting a broken down RV for the cabin in the woods); and with possession effects that, at times, reminded me of Lamberto Bava’s Demons; Await the Dawn should feel somewhat derivative but it never does. Plus, what’s not to love about a film featuring a demonic killer kid?!

A fantastic Lovecraftian horror, Await the Dawn has been described as From Beyond meets Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight and I’d say that’s pretty much on the nose. If, like me, you’re a fan of either of those then Await the Dawn is definitely one for you!

**** 4/5


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