Cosmic Dawn

Martha Marcy May Marlene with aliens?  Sure, I’ll bite.

It seems aliens are indeed out there!  If this statement elicits all sorts of fear within your bones, Cosmic Dawn just might be the cinematic cure you need in order to calm their rattling.  It is, after all, a tension-filled movie where the existence of aliens is more than pitched and pondered.  Giving the idea of extraterrestrial existence more weight than an independent film might, Cosmic Dawn thrusts these beings onto the viewers’ collective lap and dares to ask the ultimate question.

Written and Directed by Big Muddy’s Jefferson Moneo and inspired by his own childhood encounter, Cosmic Dawn tackles aliens, cults, and dimensional shifts after a child’s witness of an alien abduction of her mother leads her down a disturbing path where, after her aunt (Vickie Papavs) has her committed, she finds a home within a UFO cult on a remote island compound.

It’s not all in her head.  As uncomfortable as that sounds, imagine the relief she feels when her experiences are finally acknowledged and shared by others.  There’s transformative power in that situation and this science fiction thriller is to be praised for its handling of that moment.  I suppose it is why people join cults in the first place, but the movie doesn’t stop there.

Cosmic Dawn attempts at looking for explanations and comes up with powerful conclusions which turn the magnifying glass onto our own weaknesses.  It succeeds thanks to a stellar cast, solid direction, and a timeline which challenges the audience as Aurora (Camille Rowe) seeks answers to her experiences.  

With plenty of mystery along for the ride, this neon-soaked adventure follows her from a bookstore to beyond as she navigates miracles, consciousness expanding flowers, and a burgeoning friendship with Tom (Joshua Burge), the resident cook, thanks to the keyed-in revelations on the island compound.

But is it all as it seems? Cosmic Dawn

Here is where the production design of Danielle Sahota comes into the play.  Many detailed delights fill our eyes and we can’t help but believe in Aurora’s experience.  Mirroring that is the expressive and emotional electronic score which Alan Howarth (Halloween III, Big Trouble in Little China) turns in.  Amplified by jingly electronic songs from Andrew VanWyngarden of the Grammy-winning MGMT, and you, too, will be soaking up the neon rays of extraterrestrial life as hallucinations are not only viewed but felt thanks to their crystalline vibrancy.

"both thought-provoking and visually cool"

When Natalie (​​Emmanuelle Chriqui from Superman and Lois) - who originally recruited her - starts to display increasingly bizarre behavior, Aurora begins to question everyone’s sanity (including her own) and starts looking for a way out.  Something is not right here.  And so she splits.  Maybe these aren’t the answers she needs after all.

Except, years after the dissolution of the cult, a mysterious video which features cult leader Elyse (Antonia Zegers) beckons her back and she pursues the ultimate truth about The Cosmic Dawn. Does Elyse really have access to another dimension? Or do her prophesies truly point to mass suicide amongst the surviving cult members?

Cosmic Dawn, for what it attempts to do on a low budget, is both thought-provoking and visually cool.  It’s not a complete ‘80s throwback in its handling of companionship in the cosmos as its slick electronica and visual finesse suggests, but it is downright compelling as two narrative paths branch out and a four-year time leap leads to answers we all seek in the Cosmic Dawn.

Co-starring William Sanders and Philip Granger, Cosmic Dawn will soon be washing over audiences as levelFILM and Cranked Up, the genre-leaning arm of Good Deed Entertainment, will be releasing the film in theaters and On Demand on February 11th.

4/5 stars

Film Details

Cosmic Dawn

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
93 mins
: Jefferson Moneo
Jefferson Moneo
Camille Rowe; Emmanuelle Chriqui; Antonia Zegers
: Sci-fi
May you reach the dawn.
Memorable Movie Quote:
Cranked Up
Official Site:
Release Date:
February 11, 2022
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: After witnessing an alien abduction as a child (and subsequently being told she’s crazy for most of her life) Aurora, now a young woman, joins the UFO cult The Cosmic Dawn after discovering a book written by the group’s leader, Elyse.


Cosmic Dawn