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Published on March 2nd, 2004 | by Erich Becker

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Review: Club Dread

I had to buy myself a thesaurus for this review to think of as many different ways to say how disappointed I am with this film: let down, dissatisfied, disenchanted, and saddened. Those should get me by for a little while. Broken Lizard’s Super Troopers wasn’t an all out laugh-fest and it didn’t differ too much from the beaten path of past films, but it had funny moments, a testament to the writing ability of the Broken Lizard troupe. Yet, after watching Club Dread I may be ready to take back all the nice things I said about their first film.

I was eagerly awaiting the release of Club Dread mainly because I enjoyed Super Troopers so very much, and while the film makes an honest effort to spoof the horror genre it can’t compare to mastery works like Scary Movie and Scream. For those who can’t believe I called Scary Movie a mastery work, I just did. Club Dread plays with the clichés that we find in all horror movies, but when old-school films such as Freddy vs. Jason begin to make fun of themselves, do we really need poorly conceived spoof films to make fun of work that is already being parodied by its progenitors?

Club Dread takes place on a tropical island where the drinks flow freely and there are not strings attached. Coconut Pete (Bill Paxton) runs this swanky island paradise with the money he earned making hilarious sounding records referring to many things people would do on brain-altering drugs. When someone begins picking off resort workers (no doubt a throwback to the killing of camp counselors in Friday the 13th), our fearless crew must stay alive until a boat comes to retrieve them and return them to safety. This isn’t award winning cinema, but it is still dangerously thin to get by with.

The biggest problem with the film is the general lack of laughs. There are only two times that a real gut-buster of a joke is told and when you don’t see them coming, they just aren’t that funny. Surprisingly the film tries to enter the drama realm, something Broken Lizard managed to do in Super Troopers, but stumbles here even with the added incentive that people may get naked and killed.

Naked and killed you say? For a comedy piece there is a surprising amount of gore and bloodshed with gruesome deaths being suffered by almost every member of the principle cast including stomachs sliced open, decapitations, and machetes impaled through the chest. While not containing the body count or gore of Freddy vs. Jason, it certainly raises the bar a bit for the comedy genre. As for the nudity, the film has an ample amount of both male and female, depending on where your interests lie. Most notable of the birthday-suit baring is that of Cabin Fever‘s Jordan Ladd who shows us here gymnastic abilities in the comfort of a hotel room.

Without any laughs you are forced to look at the drama components of the film, but when the killer is finally revealed, and when the reason for his killing is explained the whole thing is suppose to be funny, yet it isn’t, which can be said for a majority of the film. There just isn’t that much that compels you to keep watching. You aren’t going to laugh, the film offers little to no suspense, and it isn’t the most heartwarming piece of cinema ever, so why keep watching? The only reason I can give you is the funniest moment of the film which lies at the very end. Aside form this parody of returning killers only the outtakes during the ending credits present you with any real laughs.

Unfortunately Club Dread was the first big disappointment of the new year, aside from the lackluster and completely average Along Came Polly. Those expecting the comedic timing and laughs of Super Troopers will be the most disappointed as we are forced to sit through nearly two hours of jokes that miss their mark and gags that don’t quite instill the uproarious laughter we were expecting. Here’s one more for the road: thwarted.

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About the Author

Thirty-something with a love of everything we cover here, and a few things we don't. Erich has run Entertainmentopia since the site's inception in 1999, countless redesigns, a few crashes, and a lot of media later, here you have it!



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