Horror Movie Review: Damned by Dawn (2009)


In Irish mythology a banshee is a female spirit seen as an omen of death, a fore-telling & a messenger from the other side. Her wails are said to be heard when someone is about to die. Dressed in all white or grey with long pale hair that they comb, legend says that should you find a comb on the ground in Ireland, don’t pick it up or a banshee will get you.

When a banshee wails the end is coming for someone….

Damned by Dawn takes the banshee of myth & promptly sets about ruining any semblance of horror. Here we go again…

Let’s get the first stupid thing out of the way…this movie is set in Australia. Not Ireland or Scotland, the 2 places with the banshee mythology but Australia. Not the best start but I can let that go. We are introduced to 2 really boring people, Claire & Paul, who are an item & on their way to visit Claire’s family at a remote farm. It’s a chilly looking place & the fog effects make it seem really isolated. Claire’s father needs some work on his manners (taking a piss in front of them before shaking the boyfriends hand & stirring tea with his finger) but he seems like an ‘alright’ guy.

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Then we have Claire’s younger sister (Jen) & a nearby neighbour boy who is getting close to Jen but is clearly there so he can get killed later. The last member of the household is Nana who appears to be dying upstairs in the bed. She looks terrible & gives an urn to Claire while spouting off stuff about her upcoming death & to not interfere when the ‘lady’ comes.

So naturally that night a banshee turns up with some decent make-up & Claire promptly pushes her out the window impaling her on the fence below. It turns out the family is cursed & the banshee being shoved out the window has caused the dead to rise & kill the family off one by one.

The rest of the movie sees the family assaulted by shockingly poor CGI flying demon-things as the banshee extracts her revenge. These skeleton type hovering things are so bad it is laughable & it’s all the more stupid as they splat against windscreens & can be shot!

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There are no real surprises in who dies & while the gore is a vast improvement over the CGI the story is so confusing & plot-hole filled you won’t care about how gory a scene later is (although I always enjoy people losing tongues).

Don’t believe me? Right, the whole movie is centred on this curse that has been in place for x amount of years with the family. We get told what the consequences are but never why the curse exists. It really dents the supposed impact of the movie but also makes a bad ending even more confusing. I would spoil it for you but I really can’t get my head around it…

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Ok, I’ll try….so basically after messing with the curse, the banshee & co will only rest once they’ve tasted the blood of the last surviving family member which ends up being Claire. After having fought off her now demonic Nan she lies hurt & is assaulted by the banshee who licks her blood before having an allergic (I think) reaction to it. We hear the sound of a baby crying which I guess is to suggest Claire was pregnant. The banshee freaks out which allows Claire to pick up the urn her Nan gave her, open it & fire off spirits that attack the banshee & destroy her. Again I only have to guess that the spirits were her family etc…

See my problem? If this urn could take out the banshee then why haven’t other members of the family opened it? Why did the unborn child cause the banshee to start retching? Why does the banshee just keep screaming for no reason? What happened to the curse? Does it not matter now? Where did all the rubbish CGI things go? Do banshees not like babies? Or pregnant women?

I don’t know, I don’t care & neither will you.

Take a great idea & turn it into a nonsensical story with a mix of decent gore & terrible CGI then confuse the hell out of the watcher to the point of boredom & make them stop caring about any part of the film. Now this is how you don’t make a horror movie…

Damned by Dawn
  • 2/10
    The Final Score - 2/10
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