If you have watched slasher films, you must be firmly aware of the existence of murderous characters with psychotic traits and remorseless attributes towards torture and pain. Dawn is just about one of those many characters who venture on a killing spree for satisfaction. The film has all the familiar trappings of a slasher, nothing we haven’t already seen done better elsewhere. Unfortunately, director Nicholas Ryan and writers Ryder Doupe, Dawson Doupe, and Todd Tapper’s attempts at recreating the expected elements are bland and suspenseless.
The story follows a couple whose engagement night turns into a horrific disaster when they decide to willingly get in a ride-share vehicle they haven’t booked. Unknown to them, the driver, Dawn (Jackie Moore), is a serial killer who kidnaps them at gunpoint and takes them for a scary ride. There’s nothing to spoil here; all of this is revealed within the first six minutes, and the antagonist’s identity is right on the posters and artwork.
“…the driver, Dawn, is a serial killer who kidnaps them at gunpoint…”
Dawn, from the beginning, fails to impress. Moore is unable to convince anyone of her villainous expressions, especially when it comes to her fake psychotic laugh. She tries to make it impactful with “enthusiasm,” but it ends up irritating. Then there’s Jared Cohn as Oliver, a wealthy corporate executive possessing an egotistical attitude. For some reason, he can’t stop cursing even when it’s not required. Cohn seems to try hard to navigate his character’s mental state, but his expressions remain constant, never changing from one scenario to the other. He fails to distinguish between being angry and frightened.
The screenplay attempts to dive a little into the abductor’s intent. It turns out that there is no backdrop to the plot. It is only trying to offer a scenario where – Your driver turns out to be a psychotic maniac. Dawn lays out the rules of a game she plays for an audience on the dark web, whom she’s reaching out to via a camera. She forces her captives to engage in conversations with her. The audience might look for some revelation about the story in these strained back and forths. Still, whatever information comes out neither makes sense nor creates any impact in context to the characters or the slasher genre as a whole.
"…every detail seems ripped out of the classic hits."