Movie Review: Beware the Rideshare driver named “Dawn”

Jesus, I hate bad dialogue. Even in a torture porn C-movie, it grates.

It’s not that one doesn’t notice the pitiless, pointless slaughter, the heartless cruelty and bad acting. Idiotic plot? Let’s throw that in, too.

But bad lines badly-delivered? The worst.

“Dawn” is a thriller that “has it all,” as in it’s awful by almost every measure. So writer-director Nicholas Ryan, take a bow.

Jackie Moore of “Westworld” stars in this rideshare-driver-who-kills thriller that begins with (limited) promise and goes straight to hell in short order.

“Dawn” hosts “Dawn’s Den,” a “dark web” murders-for-clicks series. A nice touch? As this artist sits and drawls her “rules” for how to be an Internet “artist” hosting your own thrill-kill series, we can see spots on the lens. Blood, maybe?

But those “rules” are where the godawful dialogue starts. “Rule number one. You don’t always select your canvas, sometimes it selects you.” She means “select your subject to PUT on canvas,” but that’s quibbling.

Pay attention in English class, kids.

“The third and final rule,” she chirps, “ENTHUSIAM!” And then she goes on, Monty Python style, to add “Rule number five. ALWAYS give your audience what they want” and “Rule number six. Always bring a set of tools…and wear a bullet proof vest for safety.” And on and on she goes, “final” rules” and “bonus” instructions, inane and insane in the extreme.

The cutaways to Dawn’s narration are necessary because she’s picked up a seriously dull just-got-engaged couple, and Dawn’s sneering and increasingly menacing exchanges with a school teacher (Sarah French) and her “bro” business exec husband-to-be (Jared Cohn) range from idiotic — they’re insanely slow at realizing the threat — to tedious to downright insipid.

“Lesson for you, NOBODY’s innocent!”

What constitutes bad acting? A Southern drawl that comes and goes and goes some more, for starters. We hear this all through the dark night where Anna and Oliver are kidnapped, tortured and tested, all of it playing out in a kind of sleep-walking slow-motion.

And dagging poor Eric Roberts in for a single scene as a past victim, begging for his life, and Michael Paré in to play a cop is just cruel, no matter what you paid them. Then again, their names plus Moore’s got this garbage script financed.

And don’t hold out hope that the ending will save this, “darkest before the dawn” and all that. It doesn’t.

Rating: unrated, graphic violence, profanity

Cast: Jackie Moore, Sarah French, Jared Cohn, Eric Roberts, Nicholas Brendon and Michael Paré.

Credits: Scripted and directed by Nicholas Ryan. An Uncork’d release.

Running time: 1:18

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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