Friday, June 4, 2010

Netflix Friday #1: Dawn

Today's Netflix streaming recommendation is for a movie I discovered a couple years ago, back when instant streaming was brand-new. At the time, I was looking for anything I could find with vampires. I came across this little independent gem simply by scrolling through all of their horror offerings.

"Dawn" is not your typical vampire movie. It is the story of a man and his daughter, Dawn. They are forced to forever wander from place to place to hide their secret: Dawn is a vampire. Technically, she is half-human, half-vampire. However, rather than this making her a super-speshul miracle baby, this means that she has all of a vampire's desire to kill along with all of a human's compassion for her victims. Their solution to this is to drive around until Dawn senses a human who is dying; she will only kill those who are terminally ill. However, this doesn't stop a would-be Van Helsing from setting out to avenge his mother.

If you are looking for tons of action and blood, "Dawn" is not for you. The movie is more of a character study of Dawn and her father. It's clear that they love each other very much, in spite of everything. The character development is excellent, particularly Dawn's struggle to meld her vampire and human halves. It builds to a tragic but inevitable conclusion. Despite its overall dark tone, there are a few funny scenes. My favorite is the conversation between Dawn's father and a goth chick.

There are a couple of caveats: first, the film is shot entirely in black and white. I think it was used effectively here, but it is another thing that sets it apart from other movies. Also, the acting isn't always the best. If you can overlook that, however, "Dawn" is a haunting little film that will stay with you for a long time.

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