Dawn of the Dragon Slayer (2011)
-Review by Nic Brown-
There are a lot of bad ways to make a living. If you have ever watched “Dirty Jobs” on the Discovery Channel then you’ve probably seen some of the worst out there. But at the end of the day, things could be worse. Imagine being a sheep herder in medieval Ireland, for example. Maybe being a sheep herder isn’t the worst job, even in the dark ages. But what if a dragon is eating your sheep and leaving nothing but bloody piles of wool? In Anne K. Black’s DAWN OF THE DRAGON SLAYER that’s exactly the situation that Will Shepherd (Richard McWilliams) finds himself in.
Will and his father are scraping by working the land and tending their sheep, but Will’s father wants more for his son. He keeps pressing the boy to leave their farm and go to the lands of Baron Sterling (Ian Cullen). The Baron owes him and because of this, the Baron will take Will on as his bondsman, training him to become a knight. Despite the promise of a better future, Will refuses. He intends to stay with his father and work the land.
Upon reaching the Baron’s lands, Will discovers things may not be that simple. The Baron is in tough financial straits as he’s feeling pressure from other nobles who’re interested in gobbling up his holdings. Although the Baron first refuses to consider the boy, when Will produces a sealed document from his father, he accepts the young man into his service. Of courses the Baron’s armsmen/servants aren’t quite as thrilled and immediately relegate Will to the worst jobs.
Will is persistent, however. He is also quite taken by the Baron’s lovely and free spirited daughter Kate (Nicola Posener). Kate is an enchantress, not just in her beauty, but also in her magical skills, although she must keep her powers hidden because of her father’s disdain for such things.
While all this is going on, the dragon resurfaces. The Baron, seeing this as his chance to regain the glory of his youth and collect the King’s reward of 1000 gold crowns, sets off with Rogan to fight the beast. While they are away, the dragon attacks the castle and it is Will who fights the beast. Despite wounding it, he is only saved from being burned to death by Kate’s magic. The young couple’s feelings for each other have grown, but the Baron and Rogan continue to stand in their way. Will must succeed in slaying the dragon, not just to avenge his father but to prove himself worthy to be a knight and to win the hand of the woman he loves.
DAWN OF THE DRAGON SLAYER is not
your typical sword and sorcery film. Despite the presence of the dragon
and the other magical elements of the story, the film focuses more on
the human drama behind the monsters and magic. In fact, the dragon is
almost completely absent form the middle portion of the film. The film
does not depend solely upon the dragon to create conflict, and the
development of the relationships between characters is much more the
focus. DAWN OF THE DRAGON SLAYER takes advantage of its locations. The
cinematography of the film captures much of the natural beauty of the
unspoiled coasts and countryside of Ireland in a way that many similar
films do not.
B Movie Man learned about DAWN OF THE DRAGON
SLAYER from our friends Lis and Brenda Fies with the
Festival - to show them some love and find out what some of
the best women filmmakers are up to CLICK HERE!
B Movie Man learned about DAWN OF THE DRAGON SLAYER from our friends Lis and Brenda Fies with the
BleedFest Film Festival - to show them some love and find out what some of the best women filmmakers are up to
The film also has something that is even harder to find than scenic locations: a talented cast. Ian Cullen brings out the inner conflict that Baron Sterling faces as the man wars with personal ambition, love for his daughter, and a bitter secret. Richard McWilliams and Nicola Posener are a good match as the would-be knight and the lady he loves, especially impressive for McWilliams since this is his film debut. One real surprise is Maggie Daniels who plays Lady Spriggs, Kate’s aunt. Her character at first seems to be nothing more than a minor background player, but she develops into a key figure in the story and Daniels helps bring her to life. In fact, the film’s cast is small, but each of the actors is well placed for their role and they help make the fantasy side of the story more believable for the audience.
Directed (and co-written) by Anne K
Black, DAWN OF THE DRAGON SLAYER is character-driven drama hiding in the
guise of a fantasy film. As such, it brings more to the genre than most
entries aspire to. So if you want to see a medieval tale of heroes and
monsters, but don’t fancy the usual SyFy channel fair, check out Anne K.
Black’s DAWN OF THE DRAGON SLAYER. You will be pleasantly surprised by
what you find.