Dawning takes place at a Northern Minnesota lake cabin where a brother and sister visit their father and step-mom. As the first night unfolds with uncomfortable small-talk and tension, tragedy strikes as the beloved family dog is found mortally wounded. Almost immediately a stranger, potentially under the spell of some un-seen "presence", appears in the cabin and tells the family that he has come to save them...but from what? The man's arrival upsets what at best was only a tentative balance and the pretense at civility begins to crumble. Soon, their lack of trust in each other and their inability to cope with any new pressure exposes their weaknesses and what the stranger has started, whatever is waiting in the dark may finish.