Director: Dominic Brunt (2012)
Starring: Dominic Brunt, Joanne Mitchell, Nicky Evans
Find it: IMDB
A low-budget British zombie film, starring that Paddy from off've Emmerdale and filmed (probably) just up the road from Home Farm. My challenge in watching Before Dawn - resisting the urge to make too many 'Paddy from off've Emmerdale' jokes. Pretty sure I failed in that respect.
Alas, I love Paddy and I love Emmerdale far more than I loved Before Dawn. It's nice to have a British zombie movie which takes its zombies seriously. There are some comedic touches, but not nearly as many as you might expect. In fact, the film is played shockingly straight at times. An estranged couple head to the countryside in an attempt to salvage something of their marriage. Meg (Mitchell) is career minded and constantly glued to her mobile phone; Alex (Brunt) is ill tempered and whiny. Their marriage is looking all but over when Meg encounters a zombie while out jogging in the morning. The pair hole up in their cottage and attempt to sit out the rise of the living dead, with varying levels of success.
"Varying levels of success" is a good description of Brunt's directorial debut. Visceral and gory as the zombie action is (it's reminiscent of 28 Days Later in that respect) it takes far too long to get there. The characters are too unlikeable for us to want to spend any time with them. Even Meg, the supposedly sympathetic one, is kind of horrible.
Talking of horrible.
Before Dawn is an interesting homegrown horror film, flawed as it might be. The story is engaging enough, later enlivened by the appearance of Nicky Evans from off've Shameless. There's a good joke about a box of chocolates, some properly brutal zombie action and a heartfelt (if obvious) ending.
Before Dawn may not be as great as Paddy's Emmerdale or Inbred, but it is still worth checking out, all the same.