Dead by Dawn (2020) Movie Review

Director: Sean Cain

Writer: Wes Laurie (Screenplay)

Starring: Drew Lindsey Mitchell, Kelcey Watson, Jamie Bernadette, Bo Burroughs, Timothy Muskatell, Bobby Slaski, Detra Hicks

Plot: A suicidal man in a remote cabin is suddenly faced with protecting a kidnapped woman from three sexual deviants and their sadistic games.

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Enjoyable Slasher

Story: Dead by Dawn starts Lulu (Mitchell) walks out on her abusive relationship, looking to catch a ride, which only turns into a nightmare when she is taken by Neil (Burroughs), Chad (Muskatell) and Snack (Bernadette), Lulu does escape, finding shelter in a cabin in the woods, where depressed suicidal man Dylan (Watson) is thinking about ending his life.

With Lulu and Dylan working on a way to keep the others out, the three kidnapers need to find a way to get into the cabin, only the bigger secrets will be revealed during the wait.

Thoughts on Dead by Dawn

Characters – Lulu is an artist who is trapped in an abusive relationship, she tries to walk out on, only to find herself being kidnapped and forced into a sick torture, she does escape, seeking help, where we get to see the pain she has suffered, rather than seeing it, where she gives Dylan a meaning to keep fighting. Dylan is a depressed man, he has lost everything and is about to end his life before Lulu arrives on his doorstep. He decides to help her fight back against the people trying to kill her, using the memories of lost loved ones. Neil is the man that is running the kidnapping, he is psychotic in how he tries to control the situation, showing his power over people with how Snack is controlled by him. Snack was a former victim that has becomes Neil’s second, she is ruthless, never wanting to look back on the violent side she has gained.

PerformancesDrew Lindsey Mitchell in the leading role does start strong in the film, but strangely, she doesn’t get that much more to do in the second half of the film. Kelcey Watson does show us how broken his character is, with this new meaning giving him extra hope, becoming the most interesting character and performer to watch through the film. Bo Burroughs fills the psychopath role well, with Jamie Bernadette bringing us a performance we haven’t seen from her before, a much darker one.

StoryThe story here follows a young woman who has escaped a kidnapping situation to find herself in the middle of a battle of wits between her rescuer and kidnappers. The story does keep the ideas very simple, with most of the film being a battle between the two sides trying to get the upper hand, even though Lulu does seem to take the back seat while Dylan and Neil are the two in control. It does deal with a lot of issues around abuse, loss and living in pain you feel helpless in. one of the bigger known movies you could compare this to, would be ‘No One Lives’ with both sides having something bigger about what is happening behind the motivations they are doing this for.

HorrorThe horror in the film is around what has happened and what would happen if Lulu is taken again.

SettingsThe film keeps everything around the cabin, showing how there isn’t going to be help coming, why Dylan is away from the world and why the kidnapping has ended up here.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects, we do get some strong effects when it comes to injuries, with one trap coming off very well.


Scene of the Movie – Pressure plate.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Lulu does seem to take a back burner in the second half of the film.

Final Thoughts This is a strong game of wits between both sides, that holds back a lot with everybody getting a chance to show what this moment would mean to them.

Overall: Game of Wits 101.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.