club dread | jay chandrasekhar | kevin herrernan | steve lemme | paul soter | erik stolhanske | bill paxton | slasher | giallo | parody | comedy | mystery | thriller | united states | vacation | brittany daniel | jordan ladd | elena lyons | tanja reichert
Film: Club Dread
Director: Jay Chandrasekhar
Writer: Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Herrernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske
Starring: Jay Chandrasekhar, Bill Paxton and Kevin Heffernan
This was a film I checked out when I was in college, because I was a fan of Broken Lizard’s previous film Super Troopers. I will admit that the first time, I wasn’t the biggest fan of horror/comedies, but this was one that I had been meaning to revisit. The official synopsis is when a serial killer interrupts the fun at the swanky Coconut Pete’s Beach Resort – a hedonistic island paradise for swingers – it’s up to the club’s staff to stop the violence…or at least hide it.
We kick this film off with Stacy (Elena Lyons) and Rolo (Dan Montgomery Jr.) going off into the woods to hook up. Stacy sees a hooded figure and this makes her uncomfortable. They end up going to an old graveyard. Stacy thinks she hears something else and they attack a statue, thinking it is a person. They are then joined by Kellie (Tanja Reichert). The plan is then to go into a mausoleum to hook up. They are then attacked and killed by someone. Stacy also gets away, but is decapitated before she can.
The film then informs us we are going back one hour and we see a boat arriving at the island. This is off the coast of Costa Rica and we follow Lars (Kevin Heffernan). He is the new masseur for the island, but no one knows him. He ends up meeting the other workers as he goes. There is Jenny (Brittany Daniel) who is the fitness instructor, Juan (Steve Lemme) who is in charge of diving, Putman (Jay Chandrasekhar) who handles tennis, Dave (Paul Soter). There’s an interesting interaction with the nephew, Dave (Paul Soter) of the owner and he handles DJing and drugs. There is also Sam (Erik Stolhanske) who is the fun police and Yu (Lindsay Price). The man who is the owner is Coconut Pete (Bill Paxton). He is a knock off of Jimmy Buffet, but he claims to have come out 7 years prior.
Things on the island start off fine, but that first night, members of the staff start to be killed off. Once they realize it, they are told to continue to do their work or more will die. They also are told to not tell the guests. Each of the members of the staff has a reason to be the killer and this also includes a guest named Penelope (Jordan Ladd). Who is the killer and why are they doing this?
I definitely appreciated this film much more after this viewing. What I ended up finding interesting now that I’ve watched more slasher and giallo films, that I really can fully grasp what they are parodying. We have the giallos in that we have a killer who is stalking them. There is the part that we don’t who or why they are doing this, but it does get revealed. Having that ‘who did it’ mystery is definitely in vein with those films.
It also has the vibe of Friday the 13th or Sleepaway Camp, but it is adults. I actually really liked the setting of the film and being able to have adults acting very similar to the teenagers of this genre. Really the only way you’d get them to act this way would be on vacation to a place that is encouraging. I think that is highly creative to be honest. It is also like these films as those in charge are the ones dying, for the most part.
Going along that, this film is definitely giving off the slasher vibe in that we have a killer who is mostly wielding a knife. There are some pretty creative deaths in the film. They have built in isolation and the cellphones not working since it is an island that doesn’t have service. There are also some beautiful women and some good nudity to go along with it. The comedy of the film is interesting, because it is part parody film, poking fun at these same films from the past. There are also laughs because the guys of Broken Lizard are great.
For a running time of 104 minutes, I don’t think drags and it is a good length. We get the deaths at a good interval so we never get bored there. They balance this with the comedy as well as the investigation. It does really well with giving us red herrings that make you think this person could be the killer. I do have to say, even after this second viewing, I didn’t remember who the killer was and that surprised me. I will say that it does get a bit over the top at the end and really playing up that the killer in these films never seems to die.
This brings me to the acting of the film. I thought that the guys from Broken Lizard are all great. They are so good at embodying the character they are playing and becoming them. It is really quite impressive to be honest. I would assume that Lemme was Hispanic, if I hadn’t seen him in other things, or Chandrasekhar had the accent he does in the film. I think everyone gives enough to make you think they’re the killer, but then having fear when they are being stalked. Paxton is also great in the film as the character he is portraying. It was nice to see Lyons, Reichert, Daniel and Ladd, as well as the rest of the ladies in the film as they are all gorgeous. We see three of them topless as well, which doesn’t hurt.
As for the effects, they were actually really good. I think the blood and the deaths looked solid. It does seem they went mostly practical there which I’m always a big fan of. I do think there was some CGI that used, but I don’t think it was much. I do think that there is enough creativity with the deaths as well, which is nice to see. The film is shot beautifully as well.
The score I thought was fitting for what they needed. It doesn’t necessarily stand out, but I do think it fit the scenes. On top of that, the songs Coconut Pete sings are hilarious. I have to give it to Paxton for what he did in this film.
Now with that said, this is actually a good parody of slasher/giallo films while still being a horror film. I think there is a solid blend there of both. It isn’t really scary as you are rooting for the killer to kill some of them as that’s what you did in these types of films. I thought the pacing was solid and built the necessary tension. I was kept guessing until the end of who the killer was. I thought the acting was good across the board, especially from Paxton and the Broken Lizard crew. The effects of the film were solid, both the practical and the CGI. I also thought the score worked for what they needed. I don’t think this film is great, but it definitely is above average. If you like the other films these guys did, I’d give this one a viewing. I would also recommend it if you like slasher films as well.
My Rating: 7 out of 10