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Film Three Stars

I'm a big Asian film fan, I really enjoy the subtler side of their cinema and the way they understand the art of putting the viewer at unease, something in Western cinema we seem to have lost the art of, preferring big visuals and loud bangs.

So I was interested to see some of the latest Asian offerings and this one sounded particularly intriguing. The shorter IMDB blurb provides much mystery:

A man wakes up to find himself locked in a tiny, cramped concrete room, in which he can barely move...

...and that's where the film began, a man trapped in a darkened series of connected torturous traps.

Haze.jpgUnfortunately the screen that was showing this film had the dark levels set somewhere around bright grey. It was a shame for most of this film is played out in almost total darkness. This should provide the same feeling as the character, squinting to see something almost visible, until it slowly comes together out of the darkness, it puts you in the viewpoint of the character. However with the dark levels so high a lot of this subtlety is lost in the, and excuse me for this, grey haze.

The majority of the film is played out in cramped maze like conditions, a maze that puts the main characters through some very claustrophobic and extremely uncomfortable moments. There are some severely uncomfortable images for the audience to sit through and these slowly build up to some moments of true horror. However as the horror rises, the subtlety, unease and plotline fall by the wayside for series of incomprehensibly connected scenes.

It's these later scenes that just confuse the film and take away from its strengths. These early scenes really play to some primal fears, dark, cramped, controlled, tortured, bleeding, and your teeth, and yet that entire feeling is lost later on in the film, and that really hurts it as a result. The ending lacks structure and coherence and by the end of the movie you are left with a hollow feeling and a quite unsatisfying one.

It is a shame because so much more could have been made of this film if something more had been made of the characters and the situation the found themselves in, instead of abandoning it for something more ethereal.

Despite the poor conclusions, the situations that the characters find themselves in early on within the confines of the maze, and those torturous traps, are very good at pulling the audience into some incredibly uncomfortable places.

IMDB Film Details
Dead by Dawn



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