Take a Sip: whenever Dawn says what she’s not supposed to do because of her mother.
Take a Sip: whenever Dawn’s dress is discussed.
Take a Sip: whenever a cigarette is lit.
Do a Shot: when someone on screen takes a sip.
By: The Cinephiliac (A Toast) –
Rose McGowan has always flirted with the dark and twisted. Throughout her career she gained notoriety by playing a bitchy popular teen capable of murder, a stripper with a shotgun for leg, and a witch attempting to ward off demons. But, last year Rose stepped from out of the limelight and into the director’s seat with her directorial debut, a short film titled Dawn. Written by M.A. Fortin and Joshua John Miller, Dawn matches that glossy, yet dark aesthetic that Rose has embodied throughout the years, pushing itself into morbidly terrifying territory.
She’s the Marion Crane to his Norman Bates
In all of 17 minutes Dawn manages to effectively tell a cohesive story that keeps you on your toes, bewildered, and in shock by the end. Dawn is a young boy-crazed teen living in the prim and proper timeframe of the late 1950s or possibly early 60s as indicated by the interior décor. Stunted by her family, mostly her “holier than thou” mother, Dawn’s world is one rooted in fantasy and false notions of the world. She learns how a woman is supposed to act from Teen magazines and swoons over Doris Day and Rock Hudson films that tell her how love should be. This makes her all too eager when she catches the eye of Charlie, a local gas clerk. Dawn gets crafted seamlessly in the short script, which makes you understand why such an impressionable girl would fall prey to the dangerous people who soon enter her life.
Dawn excels in its technical facets, most notably the dynamic lighting that plays on Dawn’s inner turmoil. During a scene where Dawn is interrupted in her bedroom by Charlie, who has come to invite her out for a late dinner, the blue tinge from the moonlight mingles with the ruby glow of her lamp dancing across her face as she contemplates her decision of giving in to new dangers or keeping herself pure and modest. Likewise, wardrobe and set design effectively establish the era before any major plot advances get the chance to.
“So is this how you guys play seven minutes in heaven?”
Dawn is an entertaining watch and worthy 17 minute break of entertainment, although it may leave you with a bit of the willies afterwards. It’s a stark reminder of all the things my mother warned me against throughout the years of not falling in with the wrong crowd. Dawn brilliantly plays off the age-old notion that exploration and curiosity leads one down a grim road, a practice commonly used in society to keep young women “in their place.” It also calls to mind the ironic practice of attempting to protect youth through seclusion and ignorance, which usually fosters more damage in the end. Dawn is not a feel good short film, but it’s a damn good one.
Click here to watch Dawn for free!