Dawn of the Beast
Long time readers of Soulless Cult know that we are no strangers to cryptozoology horror; in fact, we can't get enough of the stuff. There's something about horror flicks incorporating folklore monsters into their storyline that just always seems to make for such a great antagonist. But with the newly released DAWN OF THE BEAST, you not only get one villain to the story, oh no, you get two sinister cryptos, and they come in the form of Bigfoot and the Wendigo!! It was a very bold move of writer Anna Shields and director Bruce Wemple to attempt to make a kickass film with not one but two monsters, since some films struggle to even get one beast to work properly. But let me tell you now, if you are a fan of Sasquatch or the Wendigo, you're in for a treat with this film; Dawn of the Beast has just enough of both to satisfy your crypto needs as well as some truly bad fucking ass scenes that will leave you on the edge of your seat. The film incorporates just enough of both monsters that you see enough of them, but you're also craving so much more, and it just works so nicely. And when you tie-in the actually decent storyline into the action, the film sets you up for a pretty fun and totally entertaining hour and a half that's well worth the rental price. Nothing about the film feels cheap, forced, or boring; I honestly think horror crowds would appreciate both the eerie settings that the Wendigo-based scenes bring as well as the action-heavy scenes that come once the story is established. Dawn of the Beast blew me away in terms of quality and deliverance, and I think it would make for an excellent Saturday night flick if you consider yourself a fan of the creatures!
Dawn of the Beast follows the story of a group of graduate students who are taking a cryptozoology class for an easy A, and end up on a weekend retreat into the woods as part of the class to look for Sasquatch. Along for the ride is the professor and his teacher's aide, as well as one of the girls boyfriend who ends up in the same pickle as the students unfortunately. As the group venture out into the woodland, they begin to see things out of the corners of their eyes and even run into the skeletal remains of a woman. After spending their first day playing Bigfoot hunter for their class, the group all head back to their rental cabin in the woods for the night... or so they think. Before long, everyone on the trip finds themselves embroiled in trouble as they are hunted by the Wendigo - a supposed evil creature of folklore who lurks in the forests and turns its victims into cannibalistic souls who have a hunger for flesh. As the affected begin to descend on the cabin and all hope seems lost, the almighty Bigfoot steps in to remind everyone just who the fuck runs the woods they're in. Chaos breaks free in the woods during the Dead Month - the month out of the year where people just disappear into thin air, allegedly due to Bigfoot - as the two creatures battle it out and the remaining tourists try and survive the night. Will the Wendigo give Bigfoot a run for his money? Will the students make it out alive and be able to finish their class for the easy A? Or will everyone succumb to dreadful fates at the hands of mere "folklore" creatures?! Find out in... DAWN OF THE BEAST!
Like many other movies like this one, unfortunately, the characters you meet along the way aren't very memorable and won't really mean much to you once the credits rolls. But they are obviously vital to moving the story along, and the ones in this film are good at that, but their roles are just slightly shadowed by the "two" beasts in the film, Bigfoot and the Wendigo. And I say "two" like that because the film introduces a ton of additional, pretty horrifying looking characters out in the woods who are the souls taken by the Wendigo and turned into the cannibalistic monsters that they are. So really, you're going to see way more than just the two cryptos you think you are. Going back to what I was saying, though - when you have two notorious monsters like these two, they are going to steal the spotlight no matter what and that's what happens in Dawn of the Beast; you really can't wait to see more of the monsters on screen because - and I am happy to report this - they look so fucking good! The film definitely doesn't overdo it and show them in every scene, so you really are left craving more of them but to be fair, they really do show enough of them! Bigfoot looks absolutely stellar, but the show really gets stolen by the absolutely terrifying Wendigo; the scenes it makes an appearance are so eerie and unsettling, it's an absolute added bonus to the film. The build-up to the real action in the film might feel like it takes too long for some, but honestly I think the storyline that leads to the action isn't all that bad! The characters are placed where they need to be for the events to unfold the way they do, and once the action kicks off, the story still continues very strong! I think audiences will be pleasantly surprised with the twists and turns the film subtly takes you down, only to have it all come full circle in the end. In that sense, it is a very satisfying film to watch because it feels like all the loose ends are properly addressed while still leaving some mystery for the viewer. And it's all done really well - like I mentioned earlier, nothing feels cheap or forced, it's a very nicely executed film. If you're a fan of monster films and things that go bump in the night, Dawn of the Beast is an excellent recommendation to satisfy your bloodthirst!!