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Club Dread (2004)

Review

Author
Date
05-26-2004
Comments

About the only time you're going to see the words "Classic Horror" and Club Dread in the same sentence is... well, now. I don't know what kind of comedy that Broken Lizard does when it's not make half-baked films, but it's not anything I could see myself paying for. This is the kind of less-than-stellar product that you only watch for free.

Coconut Pete (Bill Paxton) is a burned out Jimmy Buffetesque musician who has dropped the touring in favor of starting up his own tropical resort on a island off of Costa Rica. You know the type - no cell phones, no pagers, no escape. The staff is filled with your usual band of horny cutups, and they go about their happy, cheery existences until a masked killer starts slicing and dicing them. It's Ten Little Indians meets Friday the 13th meets a random Meatballs sequel.

One of the essential problems here is that its a move trying to send up a genre that sends up itself pretty well on its own. The comedy is barely zanier than what you'd find in an average 1980s slasher movie. Gee, everybody's on drugs. Gee, everybody's getting laid. I hate to say it, but Friday the 13th: Part VIII was much funnier, and it didn't intend to be.

As a horror film, it barely rates. The suspense is negligible, the gore is old hat, and the situation is tired, tired, tired (which, being a parody, is the point, I guess, but then see my notes about the comedy of the film). The script does, however, keep us guessing as to the killer's identity, and a second go-through of the film will reveal subtle hints the screenwriters dropped as to who it was. Too many other films like this just pick a random character out of a hat three quarters of the way through, so kudos on that note.

One small (well, large) note of annoyance is the British accent on tennis instructor Putman (Jay Chandrasekhar, who also co-wrote and directed) - specifically how very fake it is. It's just chock-full of those priggish elongated vowels and general stuffiness - nobody on Earth talks like that, and the English would have Mr. Chandrasekhar thrown into the middle of a Manchester football riot for this travesty.

However, Paxton is a delight in his roughshod glee as Coconut Pete. He completely inhabits the characters, running around with all of the comic potential and perfect line delivery that such a caricature would demand to work. And work it does. He even adds an extra ounce of gritty sparkle to the numerous parody songs from Coconut Pete's career (which are pretty funny on their own, particularly Piña Coladaburg) He's the single most enjoyable thing about the entire film, and the only reason I would pop it in again.

The DVD from 20th Century Fox features both the widescreen and full-frame version of the film (each one on its own side of a two-sided "flipper" disc). The picture is clear and colorful, and the sound is very decent. The widescreen side features two commentary tracks, each one manned by two members of Broken Lizard. Neither one is particularly interesting, as they tend to wax triumphant about a film that isn't that great.

I don't understand who keeps giving these guys money (or why a comedy group named "Broken Lizard" has a monkey in its logo), but obviously they're doing well with their own little mediocre niche. It's not a *bad* movie per se, just so inoffensively uninteresting as to be a non-event. On a scale from one to ten, this rates a "meh."

Comments

What's wrong with horror and

What's wrong with horror and comedy being in the same movie? I thought this movie was better than ANY of the other Broken Lizard movies. Of course, it's barely a horror movie, but they're a comedy troupe... and it is marketed as a comedy. I'm pretty sure that the people that saw this movie and said it wasn't funny didn't get the comedy. Admittedly, it took me a couple watchings to "get it," but I thought it was one of the most original comedies I had seen in a while.

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