DAWN BREAKS BEHIND THE EYES Review - Our Eternity In This Castle
E.L. King says their viewing of the Popcorn Frights Film Festival world premiere of Dawn Breaks Behind The Eyes a seductive supernatural gothic neon horror story with a splash of erotic terror.
The Popcorn Frights Film Festival held several horror film world premieres last week including one film that has been described as a gothic S&M shocker turned acid trip. Dawn Breaks Behind The Eyes is a German mystery horror film from Crossbones that follows a bickering couple who've inherited a run-down castle. The disheartened woman and her very ill-tempered husband spend the night after he's experienced a supernatural fright in the wine cellar and she's at an erotic encounter with spirits who reside within the castle walls and on the grounds. The film is a seductive supernatural gothic neon horror story with a splash of erotic terror cloaked in the style of a 1970s Italian horror film. The Gialloesque vibrancy of it was what initially intrigued us.
The film stars Jeff Wilbusch (Unorthodox, Oslo) and Anna Platen as a couple spending an eternity within the castle, not as ghosts per say, but as trapped souls. The cast also includes actor and director Frederik von Lüttichau (Hager, The Room to Die For) and Luisa Taraz (Tatort, Harro #KillThemAll)
"You're a flower in the bushes and that's all you'll ever be."
Kevin Kopacka directed, produced, and co-wrote the film with Lili Villányi.
“Dawn Breaks Behind the Eyes is my love letter to Gothic horror films of the 60s and 70s, drawing inspiration from classics such as Mario Bava’s The Whip and the Body or Jean Rollin’s The Iron Rose with a dash of obscure humour in the vein of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s films such as Satan’s Brew and Chinese Roulette," said Kopacka.
We had a big "What's in the box moment," as Dieter stumbles onto a box of what we can only assume is bondage and more finding a pair of old classes and a news clipping about a fire in the wine cellar. As he plays with a whip from the box we discover the trapped souls of another couple, Gregor and Eva, within the castle who are seemingly lost in time and space. There is a bend in space and time that allows their timeline to touch and at times bleed into the present providing a ghostly supernatural effect. The present-day couple, Dieter and Margot are in the midst of a crumbling marriage filled with anguish, tension, psychosis, and murderous rage. There's also no shortage of gore in one of the most shocking scenes we've ever experienced. We actually gasped and covered our mouths watching in absolute horror!
"Deep down they are just like us. No beginning. No end. Only this moment exists for them."
Kopacka's inspirations shine through in the film's elusive and fetishistic nature. In what is essentially an erotic gothic horror fantasy that is delusional in its romanticism and under the influence of psychedelics. The film is accompanied by a wonderfully haunting score that perfectly exemplifies how the moment should feel. It's also held up by the performances of its leads and boasts gorgeous cinematography. The film in a nutshell is really about the complexities of relationships, love, and forgiveness. To say we thoroughly enjoyed our viewing experience is an understatement.
Dawn Breaks Behind the Eyes had its world premiere at the Popcorn Frights Film Festival in Florida and is scheduled to be shown at the 2021 Fright Fest Film Festival at Cineworld in Leicester Square, London, on August 26, 2021.