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DAWN BREAKS BEHIND THE EYES (2021)
Directed by Kevin Kopacka.
Written by Kevin Kopacka, Lili Villányi.
Starring Anna Platen, Jeff Wilbusch, Frederik von Lüttichau, Luisa Taraz, Robert Nickisch, Elena Gomez Alvarez, Bill Becker, Christopher Ramm, Max Cramer
Check out the trailer here!!
DAWN BREAKS BEHIND THE EYES tells two parallel stories, one of a couple young couple whose marriage is on the rocks entering a large mansion they inherited and plan on flipping for profit. The other follows a film crew wraps on a movie and have a wrap party to end all wrap parties in the same gothic mansion. In both stories, there seems to be something diabolical happening in the mansion right beyond their purview.
DAWN BREAKS BEHIND THE EYES is a film more about the creative process than horror, though horror plays a big part in the story. It’s about the process of making a film and how what one creates can often take a life of its own. It also touches upon the ethereal nature of the creative process and how taking creativity is ever evolving, often reflecting the situation the creative spirit finds themselves in. It is also about the setbacks a creative mind often encounters that continuously attempt to influence and warp whatever message one wishes to communicate to their own benefit. Anyone who has participated in the creative process and seen that process interrupted by outside forces will find something to empathize with in this heady little allegory.
DAWN BREAKS BEHIND THE EYES also contains an orgy, a vampire, a creepy mansion, and penis mutilation. So if you don’t really feel like delving into the more intellectual themes at play, there’s that for horror fans to look forward to. I don’t know if DAWN BREAKS BEHIND THE EYES succeeds in being as entertaining as it wants to be. It feels more like an interesting and highbrow TED Talk on the philosophies of creativity. While I appreciate the message it is trying to send, I do feel that there is a lack of humanity to this film. The characters in both stories feel disconnected from real life, more like symbols playing their part in an elaborate metaphor. And with this lack of humanity comes my own difficulty really getting into this story.
There are quite a few beautifully shot scenes. There’s a slo-mo scene involving an inferno, some absolutely bizarre imagery, some interesting musical choices, and an overall fine eye for making every inch of this gothic mansion all of the action takes place in look extravagant, unusual, bizarre, and otherworldly. This is a succulent and stylistic movie to look at from beginning to end of DAWN BREAKS BEHIND THE EYES.
Being a writer myself, I am always interested in stories about writing stories. Some of these revelations and plot points ask questions about the writing process, specifically the process of adapting writing to film, I found to be quite fascinating, and I am glad these questions were raised and theorized upon. Still, the disconnectedness is prevalent all the way through DAWN BREAKS BEHIND THE EYES. I’m glad I saw this film and appreciate what it is trying to do, but I hesitate to call it all entertaining and can’t give it a wholehearted recommendation because of this.