Await the Dawn (2020) Review
I’m not sure why Await the Dawn has been keeping such a low profile. It has a cast that includes Dee Wallace (Ayla, The Nest), Vernon Wells (Camp Twilight, Commando), Courtney Gains (Children of the Corn, Camp Cold Brook) and Bruce Davison (Itsy Bitsy, Along Came the Devil 2). And they’re backed up with plenty of bloody deaths.
However, despite racking up wins at festivals since 2019 there’s almost nothing out there about it. I hadn’t even heard of it until it was mentioned to me. Considering some of the absolute shit with no talent and no effects that have been hyped up recently, why that is, is mystifying.
Closing time at Zed’s (Vernon Wells) bar is lived up by a bit of demonic possession and shotgun mayhem. All at the behest of Maggie (Hannah Strasser, I Am Jacob) who looks like an adorable little girl until she speaks, and we see her eyes.
Annie (Dee Wallace) and Stephen (Gregg Christie, D-Railed) along with Dr. Hewitt (Courtney Gains) are taking their daughter Jamie (Caitlyn Fletcher, Paranormal Captivity, Jersey Devil) to see a specialist to try and finally put her drug habit behind her.
As if her condition wasn’t bad enough, there’s friction between her brother Neal (Jonathan Stoddard, Voices, Last Night on Earth) and best friend Lana (Gabrielle Stone, Stray). It seems they have a history he’d like to relive, and she wants to forget. All that gets put aside however when Howard Phillips (Josh Server, The Haunting of Grady Farm) hijacks their RV. But what’s chasing him is a much bigger threat.
As you may have guessed by Howard’s name, Await the Dawn isn’t about your typical Christian demons. Whatever is inside Maggie is something from another plane of reality. It was accidentally brought here by a device intended just to let us look at her world. And now that she’s here, she doesn’t want to go back.
Unfortunately, the script doesn’t do much with that idea, and Await the Dawn plays out much like a standard demonic thriller as Maggie lays siege to the RV and its occupants try to survive until morning. The one big difference is, instead of some religious icon, it’s some kind of electronic device that can keep the evil at bay. And possibly send it back where it came from.
There’s always something missing when productions rely more on CGI than practical effects. Today’s audiences are not dumb. I think it’s only fair to give them something with a bit more authenticity”Pablo Macho Maysonet IV Director of Await the Dawn
Despite its wasted potential, Await the Dawn still manages to be an entertainingly bloody way to kill time. And it is indeed bloody, a head is ripped off, a face blown away. Ron (Chris Levine, No Way Out, Murder Syndicate) who along with his girlfriend Emma (Lovlee Carroll, Candy Corn) has the misfortune to get in the middle of this meets a particularly nasty fate.
The gore effects seem to be all practical and quite nicely done. When Maggie finally discards the likeness of Howard’s daughter, her true form is nicely represented by Joy Goodman covered in practical makeup. The minimal CGI I noticed was only used where there really wasn’t another option, something I’m always happy to see.
Writer/director Pablo Macho Maysonet IV (DeadHouse, The Red Suit) doesn’t give us anything groundbreaking or game changing in Await the Dawn. And it’s certainly not a film I would have expected to pile up festival awards. But it is a lot of fun, something missing from too many films lately.
Await the Dawn has played theatres in Vietnam, but I’m not sure what the release plans for anywhere else are. You can keep an eye on the film’s Facebook page for any announcements.