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directed by Brett Anstey
Australia 2009

 

Claire (Renee Willner) and her boyfriend Paul (Danny Alder) travel to her remote family home to visit her ailing grandmother (Dawn Klingberg, TIL HUMAN VOICES WAKE US), who lives with her father Bill (Peter Stratford, BLOOD MONEY) and sister Jen (Taryn Eva). Claire wants to ask her grandmother about the mysterious urn that her grandmother sent her a month before. Her grandmother tells her that she expects to die soon and that she will be taken away by a woman who wails for the dying. That night, the family is woken by a howling sound in the woods. Paul, Bill, and Jen's boyfriend Simmo (Mark Taylor) go out into the woods in search of the sound (but only two come back). Left alone with her grandmother, Claire witnesses the arrival of the banshee (Bridget Neval) but she interferes in the creature's plans to carry away the dying woman. In retaliation, the banshee calls upon a horde of evil spirits (and a couple zombies) to lay siege upon the house. Even if the blurb "Sick of waiting for EVIL DEAD 4, check out DAMNED BY DAWN" had not been splashed across the poster art, horror fans would have very little (very, very little) trouble recognizing the film's obvious inspiration. Willer has an "Ashley Laurence in HELLRAISER" look going on, but soon enough she's wandering fog bound woods spattered in blood like Bruce Campbell in the first EVIL DEAD film and possessed Nana is not that far off from a Deadite (she even says "Join us"). The foggy exteriors and hurtling camera moves (when they're not CGI-rendered) also hearken back to the Raimi film, but the banshee looks like a Halloween costume, or perhaps the CGI wraith of awful DARKNESS FALLS. The flying CGI evil spirits are well-rendered for the budget but unoriginal. The high definition cinematography (shot on the HVX-202) is atmospheric thanks to the color correction and some great locations (the blue-lit night interiors also have an admirable eighties horror look to them). The surround sound design is good (particularly the first cries of the banshee), but the ending theme song is the only distinctive part of the score. The performances are at the mercy of flat characterization (Klingberg has the most to work with, Stratford does what he can, and Willner's performance is a string of reactions). DAMNED BY DAWN is no EVIL DEAD 4. Director Brett Anstey merely distilled elements of the Raimi films into a proficient low-budget film that is on-par visually with some studio direct-to-DVD horror sequels. It would be interesting to see what Anstey and co. could do with a more interesting and original script and the same resources.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 15 April 2010 (Australia)

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DVD Comparison:

Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL vs. Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the Screen Caps!

(Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Momentum Pictures

Region 2 - PAL

Image Entertainment
Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:21:06 (4% PAL speedup) 1:24:21
Video

1.84:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.26 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.55 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Momentum Pictures

 

Bitrate:

 

Image Entertainment

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1

English Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles English, none none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Momentum Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.84:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary with writer/director Brett Anstey, producer Luke Gibson, editor Dave Redman, production designer David Jackson, and chief fog wrangler Darren Maxwell
• Making-Of (16:9; 55:32)
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 2:30)
• Start-up trailers for SKYLINE (16:9; 2:21), LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (16:9; 1:31), and THE GIRL WHO
• KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST (16:9; 1:11)

DVD Release Date: 7 March 2011
Amaray

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Image Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary with writer/director Brett Anstey, producer Luke Gibson, editor Dave Redman,
• production designer David Jackson, and chief fog wrangler Darren Maxwell
• Audio Commentary with writer/director Brett Anstey and actors Renee Willner, Dawn Klingberg, Bridget Neval, Peter Stratford, and Taryn Eva
• Making the Damned Film (16:9; 55:32)
• Trailer (16:9; 2:30

 

DVD Release Date: 9 November 2010
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

While Image also released a 1080p Blu-ray HERE, they chose to encode the DVD as 480i (the DVD is not a PAL conversion). Both discs are dual-layer, but the Momentum disc sports a higher bitrate, progressive transfer (4.31 GB vs 3.43). The Momentum DVD is correctly matted to 1.85:1 while the Image DVD is opened up to 1.78:1. The Image release seems ever so minutely brighter, but the interlacing makes hash of camera and subject movement.

English 5.1 audio is fine on both discs (the Momentum features optional English subtitles). The director/crew commentary, making-of featurette, and trailer are the same on both discs, but the Image DVD features a second audio commentary with the director and cast. Both commentaries are rather rowdy and Antsey repeats information on both tracks.

 - Eric Cotenas

 



DVD Menus
(
Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)
 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Momentum Pictures

Sound:

Draw

Extras: Image
Menu: Momentum

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Momentum Pictures

Region 2 - PAL

Image Entertainment
Region 1 - NTSC

 




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