DAWN BREAKS BETWEEN THE EYES (REVIEW)
Dir. Kevin Kopacka
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
Italian giallo has died a death and has been lost to an era of time that will forever be remembered for it's colourful, yet violent memoirs of sexual and deviant decent. The classics of SUSPERIA and THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE amongst others will remain as classics and unique in their own style. A style hard to imitate, and certainly difficult to carve an entry that can stand tall alongside them. THE STRANGE COLOUR OF MY BODY'S TEARS fell somewhere in the middle but really there hasn't been a contender to restart an interest in giallo cinema since.
Then came DAWN BREAKS BETWEEN THE EYES.
Kevin Kopacka is no stranger to 70's European cinema. His first two shorts were heavily inspired by the genre and yet were unique enough to stand on their own merit. Flashes of colour mixed with close ups and choppy scenes all felt like being transported to the decade when horror was beautiful. Now, with his second feature, the indulgence in the genre actually takes Kopacka amongst the greats of Argento and Bava.
The film is one of two halves but it to prevent spoilers, it sees a married couple at the end of their relationship. After inheriting a castle from her youth, their seperate ideas of their future puncture any momentum of companionship that was keeping them together and as they stay within the confines of the castle, their true nature begins to unravel as the two get pushed further and further apart. What happens next literally destroys the rulebook both in terms of the narrative and film in general.
Scenes of possessed violence, elaborate orgies, demonic sex acts and the arrival of a cult are all alien to a film that really is strong enough in it's opening chapter that it could have played it straight and still been a great film. It's not until the film twists out of shape that it really becomes a blend of horror tropes played back to viewers as a sort of in-joke for horror fans yet narratively still credit the films nature.
Where DAWN BREAKS BETWEEN THE EYES really stands tall though is in Kopacka's style. It echoes the giallo films that so heavily inspire it yet at the same time are a director trademark that have followed him through his short career. Everything, literally everything, fits the mould of the sub-genre so well that it stands as an authentic giallo masterpiece. The colour contrast magnified so well that blood is as red as the primary colour, the costumes are made for an era decades earlier yet look like they were designed in a bygone time to portray a moment in history and the close up eye shots that mysteriously own the film's narrative. The cinematography at play is a master stroke of genius that compliments the script and cast so well that it's as if the film-makers have signed a deal with the devil themselves.
Luisa Taraz and Frederik von Lüttichau need a film of their own and by the time Jeff Wilbusch comes into the picture, you can be fooled for feeling that the film is over with satisfaction but by that point it really is just beginning. I'm sure even Dario Argento himself is watching this in envy.