Night of the Living Dead: Darkest Dawn

night-living-dead-darkest-dawn-posterDarkest Dawn, is another retelling of Night of the Living Dead and overall it’s good. Released in 2015, Darkest Dawn is a CGI animated film, though with its sixty-two minute run time film might be a bit of a stretch. Made on a shoestring budget in a garage and having been trapped in production hell for five years, Darkest Dawn deserves a medal for just getting finally made. Though, Darkest Dawn still has a myriad of flaws, some far more glaring than others.

Darkest Dawn opens with a zombie waking on an airplane and attacking the flight attendant before it quickly killed by an Air Marshall. It then cuts to Barbra (Danielle Harris), who’s visiting her father’s grave while on the phone with her brother Johnny (Bill Moseley). Johnny taunts her for her fear of cemeteries from his office in a skyscraper. Which is promptly hit by the plane from the opening. Barbra witness this and also notices the dead filling up the grave yard, which she quickly flees. She finds her way to a townhouse, but is attacked when inside. As she runs out of the apartment she comes across Bed (Tony Todd). Ben quickly deals with dead inside the townhouse and sets to securing it. When Barbra is upstairs she’s attacked by Harry Cooper (Joseph Pilato) and Tom (Madhavan). She’s rescued by Ben, due to him having a shotgun. We learn that they’ve been hiding out on the roof since those things started attacking the city. Not wanting to stay up on the roof, Bed elects to stay downstairs and is joined by Barbra. Tom also joins him along with his girlfriend Judy (Sarah Habel). Up on the roof Harry’s wife Helen (Alona Tal) watches over their sick daughter, Karen (Luann De Soto), who was bitten. The Coopers eventually come down, just in time to catch a news broadcast from a military unit just a few blocks away. After the house breached the group makes their way towards the military outpost…

Other than the change-up of updating the setting to current day New York and having the survivors leave the house. Darkest Dawn hits all the main notes from the original. From the famous line “They’re coming to get you Barbra” to Ben and Harry butting heads, Harry’s bitten daughter, to the bleak ending. So it was nice seeing the integrity of the original, so well-preserved for this adaptation.

The voicing acting is really good, almost top-notch with Tony Todd just shinning. With the other actors doing nearly as well, with only the supporting cast ever feeling a little campy at times. The Pacing is also incredibly solid and the tension is really allowed to build.

My one complaint is on the visuals. Which looked like an early PS1 CGI cut scene. I spent the whole film expecting to have press start to begin the game or to have take control of one of the characters. This is quite honestly some of the worst CGI work to see come out in recent years. But I can understand given this work was done in a basement.

Final thoughts, beyond the awful visuals Darkest Dawn is a real good re-imaging. It  stays true to the spirit of the film is redoing, while still changing and tweaking things enough to make it its own. Is it better than the original? Absolutely not. But for fans of the franchise it is most defiantly worth the watch. 7/10

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