When the cast and crew for Dawn of the Deadly begin shooting in a derelict building, set to be torn down the next day, the last thing on their minds is the possibility that they’re going to have to fight their way out. But, then again, they didn’t expect to witness a gang murder someone by burning them alive either. But this is what Marshall (Adam McNab) and his crew are faced with, and it’s up to them to apply their skills —as a stuntman (Jean-Paul Ly), make-up effects (Rosanna Hoult), and sound designer (Nicky Evans)— to the makeshift battlefield.
The crew are up against some ruthless gangsters though, and it’s going to take everything they’ve got to survive. Tarker (Richard Sandling) and his crew of miscreants, including his right-hand man O’Hara (Nicholas Aaron) and brother-in-law Noodles (Ben Shafik), are determined to catch the group no matter what it takes — even if they’re not as competent at this whole gangster-business as they’d like. But things turn up a gear when they bring in hired hitman Chilemba (Karanja Yorke) and his lackeys into the picture, especially because they’re not afraid to kill.
Marc Price is an impressive storyteller, using striking visuals and intriguing ideas to see his fictitious crew through the worst night of their lives. With the film’s expletive-laden script, and fantastic comical timing particularly from its two lead villains, Nightshooters is sure have viewers in fits of laughter. While the martial arts skills of Ly, who also acts as a fight choreographer in the film, adds to the action-packed drama as he creates several high-octane skirmishes that are as exhilarating as they are grisly.
The visual effects, while slightly over-the-top, are effective here, and work well for both the fictitious zombie apocalypse that opens the film, as well as the later bloodbath. Nightshooters is a well-written, self-contained black comedy that has an excellent narrative and lead cast. With its dark humour, the film is undoubtedly entertaining, and certainly stands strong against other British gangster films in the same genre.
Nightshooters screened as part of the 26th Raindance Film Festival, and will be released on December 26.