Review: Rose McGowan Impresses with Directorial Debut of ‘Dawn’

Adam Reynoso ’15 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Tara Lynne Barr in Dawn. Photo Credit: Blackdog Films/RSA Films
Tara Lynne Barr in Dawn. Photo Credit: Blackdog Films/RSA Films
In actress Rose McGowan’s first outing as a director, the short film Dawn is a dark, tense look at how problematic acting like a proper lady can be in the 1950’s. McGowan’s film is entertaining and slowly toys with the audience about where the story will go. The building tension works effectively and keeps the audience at the end of their seat up until the end. The result is a beautiful dangers of boys and strangers.
The story itself is simple and something most people will recognize. A shy, sheltered girl meets eyes with a gas station attendant and soon he visits her at her home with his friend. After a bit of flirting and hoping to not get caught by her over-protective mother, they end the night with the boy giving Dawn a stick of gum. She fixates on the gesture and eventually goes to see him again at the gas station. There they make plans for them and his two friends to listen to records at Dawn’s house while her parents are gone. Dawn prepares by reading the magazine the attendant let her have and she reads an interview about how a celebrity thinks girls should act on a first date. For example, they should be “easy going” and “ask questions, but not too many questions”.
The film uses Dawn as an example for how the ideals some women have can leave them defenseless when it comes to these situations. It really could be said of anyone who may be too polite. Because she was sheltered and groomed by her mother, she didn’t realize she was in trouble until it was too late. It’s a sad realization, but it’s one that’s still true, even today. This story could’ve gone into many directions and the route it eventually went probably worked the best. Dawn walked away somewhat believing these boys, but at the same time, she had to have known what awaited her in the woods. She just ignored it and believed it was her fault.
Dawn. Photo Credit: Blackdog Films/RSA Films
Still from Dawn. Photo Credit: Blackdog Films/RSA Films
The cinematography in the film reflects the contrasting nature of the film. It starts with bright, clean shots and lots of pastels and pinks. Dawn starts out hopeful and wanting to fall in love like the films she likes. As the film moves along dark colors and shadows begin to take over the film, foreshadowing the ominous turn the film will take. It reflects the true nature of these strangers wanting to steal Dawn away from her cozy, safe home.
As a short film, McGowan and the writers have accomplished making the story powerful in a condensed amount of time. They make these characters believable and even the gas attendant does seem innocent and genuinely interested in Dawn. It isn’t until much later that the horror sets in and the real idea comes to light.
Overall Grade: A-
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