Dawn of the Deaf (2016)

*. Zombie movies have been allegories since they got started, and by that I mean even before George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968). We can go as far back as I Walked with a Zombie (1943), where zombies represented a slave-labour force used to harvest sugar cane. Though with Romero the social allegory in particular really took off, from zombies as mindless consumers walking the mall to a revolutionary underclass.
*. So if Dawn of the Deaf isn’t just a zombie splatterfest but instead seems to be a movie about other things, that’s not a bold new direction so much as a natural extension of the super-plastic zombie metaphor. Zombies being always among us, they can be made to stand for anything.
*. Unfortunately, even for a movie that seems so intent about standing for something, I was never sure what that something was. Which is surprising given that it’s just a 12-minute short. The basic idea is that an audio “pulse” makes everyone drop dead and then, a few minutes later, rise again as flesh-eating zombies. The only ones not affected are the deaf.
*. Sticking with the plot outline here, I found it surprising that the IMDb plot summary has this to say: “When a sonic pulse infects the hearing population, a small group of Deaf people must band together to survive.” This is not at all what the film is about, or even what happens. There are only two girls at the end who are together after the pulse, and that’s where we leave them. There’s no banding together to survive. I wonder where this summary came from. Could it have been supplied by the producers? Also: is Deaf now supposed to be capitalized? I keep missing these memos.
*. In addition to being deaf the two survivors are also girlfriends, so as lesbians they are doubly marginalized. In addition, one of the girls is the victim of incest, as her father is sexually abusing her. This is really unpleasant stuff, and not at all what I was expecting from a movie with such a joke title. In fact, the title had been used in a zombie comedy out of Australia just the year before. There was some real mixed messaging going on here, as this is not a comedy and indeed doesn’t even try to raise a smile at any point.
*. Aside from the two girls there’s also a deaf man who is addressing some gala event. After the pulse he will be torn to pieces.
*. As I say, I’m not sure what the point here was. Ironies are pointed. The one girl tells the other that she doesn’t care who knows that they’re lovers, only when the world has been transformed so that there’s nobody left who will ever care or know. The man making a speech is proud of doing so in his own voice, but then has his tongue ripped out. I get it, but then I don’t.
*. There’s one neat bit of business when the subtitles for hand signing go in and out of sight as the two girls are arguing in an underpass. Aside from that, the film is a mess. In particular, I couldn’t figure out the timeline. Does the girl kill her father before or after she goes to meet her friend? Because he seems to be coming back to life on the bed, which would be well ahead of schedule. And what’s with the pranksters scaring random people? Just a pair of jerks?
*. I can’t say I liked this one much. It left me confused and with a bad taste in my mouth. Why include all the creepy incest stuff? I guess the point is just that the world pre-pulse is full of predatory jerks like the guys pulling pranks and the girl’s father, so that when they get turned into zombies they haven’t changed all that much. This is a familiar theme in zombie movies, but it’s not put forward with any real urgency here. It’s nicely turned out for such a low-budget effort, and marks an early teaming of British director Rob Savage with writer Jed Shepherd, who’d go on to make Host a few years later, but that’s all that’s worth noting.

41 thoughts on “Dawn of the Deaf (2016)

      1. Alex Good Post author

        Do you like b*n*n* bread? Having some this morning for a snack. Wonderful stuff.
        BTW, Otsy and I were wondering where we could get t-shirts or even an official team jersey for the B-field Buttcoks, your local FC. Is there an online store? I’m almost afraid to ask what the team mascot is.

      2. Alex Good Post author

        You never said how the Buttcoks were doing this year. Going to the finals?
        Anyway, I was just looking for a t-shirt. Don’t need the full kit, especially the b**ty shorts.

      3. film-authority.com

        Sigh. Reduced to sharing doggerel with DJ Otzi, how the mighty have fallen. Two banned losers. Sad! Just because I’m a sportsman and celebrity, probably the star of Space Jam 3. You can write about it when your library get it stocked in 2555. Haha Baldy, foiled again!

      4. Alex Good Post author

        You were the one who was bragging about playing for the Buttcok squad at the Fringe. Still looking for the video on that one. Must exist somewhere. Unless you were just making it up.

      5. film-authority.com

        Sigh. Only hermits like you require visual aids. The rest of us are out there living it up, which you sit in your hermit hole begging for MPEGS. So sad! You played any sports since you were rejected by your fifth grade lacrosse team?

      6. film-authority.com

        Winning an Uncle Fester lookalike competition? The knobby knees contest? Who can go the longest without using paraphrases? HAHahahah! Get it ** *** you ******* ********* *****.

      7. film-authority.com

        There is no radio Glasgow. Back in your box, no time to fix your many factual errors, ****-*****! When are you next on Canadian National Radio, or are you still sulking because they bring in big name imported stars like myself? Always the bridesmaid, never the bride, eh Bunty? Hahaha!

      8. Alex Good Post author

        Hardly a comment so full of wit it needed to be repeated. *sigh* Did Johnson ever have to endure such effrontery from Boswell? O tempora, or mores!

      9. film-authority.com

        Wut? You’re the one that looks like Pikachu! Hahaha! Just off the national radio, tried to get some work for you, but there’s a strict no hermits rule just now. Best for you to just leave things to the pros.

      10. Alex Good Post author

        Isn’t Pikachu the adorable one? Voiced by sexiest-man-alive Ryan Reynolds? You’re making me blush!
        Getting so hard to support national broadcasters these days, what with the jokers they’re putting on air. It may be time to join the growing chorus of defunders . .

      11. film-authority.com

        Not at all, the standard of guest seems to have risen of late. Shame they never ask you, but probably for the best…didn’t know you find pokemon attractive, but maybe you’re one of their species….

    1. Alex Good Post author

      I liked Host. Will be posting on it shortly. But all their work so far has been “calling card” stuff. Showing what they can do. I agree with the “urk” too. I didn’t get what the incest storyline was doing here. Not against treating that subject in a responsible way, but it seemed pointless injecting it into a short like this.

    1. Alex Good

      Those dead bodies lying artfully arranged in the street have become a bit of a cliché. Obligatory I guess, and done well enough here, but at this point I’m looking for something different and new.

  1. Alex's Review Corner

    I suppose it could be worse. It could actually be a comedy that casually plays around with, and indulges, necrophilia… Unrelated, have you seen Warm Bodies (2013)?

    Anyways, 2016 wasn’t that long ago. Granted I’ve never really been a fan of most zombie media, but at the very least it sounds as though this movie did try to be about something – which is more than can be said for a lot modern “attractive leading man kills zombies because he has a family” zombie media.

    1. Alex Good

      No, haven’t seen Warm Bodies. Doesn’t look like it would be quite my thing.
      I did think this movie was trying to be about something. But what? There are deaf people and lesbians and incest but I just couldn’t see what it was all driving at or how any of it fit together. I agree that the attempt to be something a little different made it more interesting than the usual zombie fare though.


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