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. Aurora’s time at the cult’s remote island compound is marked by miraculous revelations, consciousness expanding flowers, and a burgeoning friendship with Tom, the resident cook. When a fellow cult member starts to display increasingly bizarre behavior, Aurora begins to question Elyse’s sanity (and her own) and starts looking for a way out.
Boasting spectacular visuals alongside a riveting script from writer-director Jefferson Moneo, Cosmic Dawn is one of those films I’ve been hearing about for quite some time. With throwback sci-fi elements, get ready for a wild ride into the world of cults and the cosmos.
Joshua Burge is always so present in a scene. Cosmic Dawn is another indie gem he can add to his resume, alongside Relaxer and Buzzard. There’s just something cool about his demeanor that captivates me. Emmanuelle Chriqui, as Natalie, is sweet and passionate about her experiences and the group. A true believer, she breathes life into this role.
As Cosmic Dawn guru Elyse, Antonia Zegers perfectly melds leadership and manipulation qualities that keep the viewer on their toes. Her (mostly) zen nature is quite unsettling. Camille Rowe as Aurora is vulnerable yet strong, open but wary. Her anxiety comes through the screen and directly affects the audience.
The editing forces you to pay attention as we jump from past to present, wading through ever-present trauma. The score elicits an eerie and almost visceral reaction. The soundtrack is hippy-dippy, space-aged perfection. The trippy moments in the script will have you second-guessing everything you think you know. As a believer, Cosmic Dawn lands somewhere between colorfully quirky and incredibly intense. It’s going to vibe with genre fans.