Dawn starts off as a picture postcard from an era that is often romanticized. The cars are cool, the furniture is even cooler, and the churchy parents are definitely uncool. But what starts off as a giddy teen romance quickly denigrates into something more perverse. Remember the first time you read Shirley Jackson's The Lottery in one of those gigantic American literature textbooks? This is the cinematic equivalent. It's not subtle but you get the point:
McGowan is not afraid of throwing stones at people who want to box girls in to conventional stereotypes of morality. Dawn is a victim of her own curiosity as well as the technicolor lifestyle her parents have created for their suburban family, where girls should be seen but not in a certain light.
Realizing that her passion lies in filmmaking, Rose McGowan's breakthrough directorial debut, DAWN, is a disturbing tale of a young girl's budding sexuality and one's desire to experience the unknown. Dawn (Tara Barr) is a quiet young teenager living in Kennedy era America who longs for something or someone to free her from her sheltered life. When she strikes up an innocent flirtation with the boy who works at her local gas station (Reiley McClendon), she thinks that he is perhaps the answer to her teenage dreams. Though when she invites the boy and his friends into her otherwise cloistered world, she gets a lot more than she bargained for.