Woozy. Dreamlike. Hallucinatory. Psychedelic. Phantasmagoria. Fever dream. These are all words you can expect to find peppering reviews of Kevin Kopacka’s lush, ravishing Dawn Breaks Behind The Eyes partly because film critics are notoriously lazy, relying on a few stock words and phrases to conjure pithy reviews at pace. And partly because there’s really no other way to describe this woozy, psychedelic, fever dream.

An unhappy woman and her obnoxious husband (Luisa Taraz and Frederik von Lüttichau) in the dying days of their toxic marriage find themselves trapped for the night in the remote, dilapidated castle she’s just inherited.

Haunted by memory, erotic visions and almost-glimpsed figures, their half-hearted attempts to reconcile spiral into paranoia, bitter recrimination and psychosexual violence, time and reality shifting and bleeding around them as another world intrudes on their own, one where a brash film director (Jeff Wilbusch) struggles to finish his masterpiece even at the expense of his relationship with his writer and lover (Anna Platen)…

A gloriously psychedelic Gothic mish-mash that feels like Jean Rollin tried to remake Gasper Noe’s acid-soaked Climax, Kevin Kopacka’s Dawn Breaks Behind The Eyes is indeed an aesthetically lush, woozy fever dream where reality shifts and remakes itself as life imitates art imitates life. Co-written with his real-life partner Lili Villányi, Kopacka’s film is a smart, self-aware meditation on love, relationships, art and narrative that may just be the best looking to play this year’s FrightFest and at a nimble 73 minutes it’s a brisk, audacious ride.

Arrow Video Frightfest Review: Dawn Breaks Behind The Eyes
5.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (3 Votes)

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