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CLUB DREAD

SYNOPSIS:
Coconut Pete (Bill Paxton) is a drop out ex-hippie muso from the 70s - his big hit was Pina Colada Burg - who has set up Pleasure Island, a teeny, fun-driven resort on a Costa Rican desert island, catering to the young and brainless. But when a mystery killer begins despatching the staff in a bloody rampage, fun turns to fear and everyone becomes a suspect, from gym queen Jenny (Brittany Daniel) to dive master Juan (Steve Lemme), from tennis coach Putman (Jay Chandrasekhar) to DJ druggie Dave (Paul Soter) and new wave masseur Lars (Kevin Heffernan). The body count mounts, and the killer remains elusive.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
There is a respectable sub genre of comedy best called stupid as funny, and Jerry Lewis turned it into gold. This team's first effort, Super Troopers, was a well intentioned creative failure as far as I am concerned, but then I'm not an 18 - 25 year old male, so if you are, try it on.

Apart from being far too long, the film is not funny enough to get away with spoofing the slasher genre, and being a send up, isn't scary enough to give us any genuine thrills in that department either. The heavy and far too frequent use of the slasher music cue (sharp and loud sounds inserted to fit jolting jump cut of possible victim backing into unseen figure, possibly the killer) scores high on the annoyance factor.

The characters are either bikini clad girls with no excuse for being there, or idiotic guys who are, thankfully, slashed off the screen quickly. While Jay Chandrasekhar and his Broken Lizard team aim for overstatement as a way to press the comedy button, all they end up with laboured gags. It may even have worked had it been pared down to a fast 80 minutes.

But as a series of scenes strung together (with bikini string) and a couple of gags recycled in mindless variation on a theme, it leaves you wanting to ....well, leave.

Review by Louise Keller:
From the creators of Super Troopers comes Club Dread, a slasher flick targeted for those who enjoy stoopid. The genre could well be called 'stoopid-slasher' or 'slasher-stoopid'. This time, Broken Lizard (there must be a yarn behind the name) has come up with a genre movie whose central characters are again wacky caricatures, working in the hyper-cool atmosphere of the ultimate isolated resort where the biggest decision to make all day is what to drink and who to bed.

Like Super Troopers, which was a bit of hit and miss, Club Dread has its moments, but much is wildly overdone. The killer-on-the-loose is allowed one too many lives and there are a few too many bloodied body parts. Never mind that continuity problems detract (a blood-stained singlet is suddenly Omo-white before being tinged again) and the writers seem to have become so engrossed in this new genre, that they forget all about the island guests. The script needs work, and much of it feels as though new ideas have just been added instead of evolving naturally.

'You're here to have fun,' the Fun Police tells guests on arrival. 'If you choose not to have fun, fun will be provided for you.' This is no doubt also Broken Lizard's objective, as they unabashedly manipulate at every turn. No need to concentrate, just wait for the loud, sudden noises to send the alert that it is time to feel uneasy.

But this is not a film to be analysed too closely. Besides, it's fun to see Bill Paxton as a debauched, long-haired hippie has-been, who pens albums such as Sea Shanties and Wet Panties while stoned on acid, and Steve Lemme's highly enjoyable amusingly-accented South American diving master Juan, who pronounces Penelope's name as 'Pee-na-loap'. Writer/director Jay Chandrasekhar's (more British than the British) tennis coach toppling over from massive dreadlocks doesn't really work, but the idea of a manic drug-supplying DJ, and an uptight 'Fun Police' is droll. Brittany Daniel wears a bikini for most of the film, playing it straight as the ambitious, sex-crazed fitness teacher, and Jordan Ladd's Penelope, the temptress-with-a-secret has an appealing innocence.

There are moments when the resort is a little like The Real Cancun, with raucous, randy guys and carefree babes, wearing little else but tans. The film dips in and out of this reality, alternating with the pseudo-horror of the slasher genre. Like Super Troopers, there are some out-there ideas, but not enough out-there moments.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 1

CLUB DREAD (MA)
(US)

CAST: Bill Paxton, Brittany Daniel, M.C. Gainey, Jordan Ladd, Tanya Reichert, Lindsay Price, Tony Amendola, Dan Montgomery, Elena Lyons, Greg Sipes, Sam Levine, Nat Faxon, Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske

PRODUCER: Richard Perello

DIRECTOR: Jay Chandrasekhar

SCRIPT: Broken Lizard - Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Lawrence Sher

EDITOR: Ryan Folsey

MUSIC: Nathan Barr

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Ben Conable

RUNNING TIME: 104 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 24, 2004







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