Monday, October 6, 2014

Club Dread (2004) review


   Aside from the more popular horror spoofs (Scary Movie) and comedy troupes (Monty Python), modern comedians, Broken Lizard, decide to have their take on the horror genre with this mock at a slasher film. Some of the jokes are pretty hilarious and some of the imagery is pretty creepy as well, but most jokes fall flat on their face with acting either suckish or fairly decent.  I doubt one would completely dread Club Dread.

PLOT: A new masseuse, Lars (Kevin Heffeman), comes to fill in for a summer at tropical resort/island, Coconut Pete's Pleasure Island, where women are everywhere, drugs are in circulation, the staff is very colorful, and the party never stops. Leading this tropical resort is Coconut Pete (Bill Paxton), a more-obscured, stoner version of Jimmy Buffet, whom he hates. Everybody's expecting another good time at Pleasure Island, staff and all. However, things start going awry when some of the staff members start disappearing and later are discovered as murdered. The staff almost loses its cool and makes the guests evacuate back to the mainland, but due to the promise of the killer, the staff either has to do their jobs with no worries or die. After some clever investigation, the staff decides that the killer must be another staff member, since he or she has access to the staff's knowledge of the island. The trouble is going to be figuring out who the true killer is. The plot is pretty well established, setting up the perfect scenario for a comedy horror movie. However, the execution is nowhere near as funny as it needs to be to pull the concept off as set up.

ACTING: The acting in this movie is mainly decent. Not very many performances in this movie shine out. The best performances in this movie would have to be from Bill Paxton as Coconut Pete, Paul Soter as Dave, Erik Stolhanske as Sam, and Kevin Heffeman as Lars. Paxton played his role as the smoked-out, played-out rock star with ease as though not worried at all. Soter and Heffeman both put a fair amount of emotion in their work, convincing me of their feelings, as did Stolhanske in more than one tone. Aside from these few, the performances in this movie were fairly average or just sub-par of being good. Even the director, Jay Chandrasekhar, who played Putman, couldn't put enough feeling or proper action in his role.

SCORE: The score is nothing too special. Aside from a few basic themes, there are some club tunes scattered throughout and some satirical tracks from Coconut Pete, including "Naughty Cal" and "Pina  Coladaberg", obviously poking fun at Buffet. The Coconut Pete tracks are fairly enjoyable.

EFFECTS: The effects in this comedy slasher were pretty decent. The blood didn't look completely fake and the dead bodies with severed limbs looked decently scary. The best effects had to be the head-on-the-record, the severed torso, and the speedboat explosion. The effects surprisingly were pretty good for a movie of this genre.

MISC. THOUGHTS: The comedy horror genre has been greatly overdone since the early 2000s, and this one isn't a landmark to prove my opinion wrong. This spoof uses all of the same conventions, poking fun at the usual cliches of horror movies, from fake jump scares to hidden messages. However, the movie does seem to borrow from some of the right places, referencing to Friday the 13th cleverly near the end. Also, some of the imagery was very pleasing to the eye, from some creepy murder scenes and killings to beautiful babes getting into trouble. For a comedy, some of the imagery is actually unintentionally creepy, and it works. Not all of the jokes succeed, however, for a comedy. Some jokes make you question whether it was meant to be funny and others are just too crude, yet some are so ridiculous that you just have to laugh and think about how unexpected they were.

   Broken Lizard is definitely no Monty Python, but this comedy horror could almost, if not, stomp the majority of the Scary Movie franchise. Though a good handful of the jokes fall flat, a fair amount of the performances are bland, and the execution is off-kilter to where it wants to be, there is some truly creepy imagery present with a few clever jokes and nods to other horror films and a handful of key actors that knew what they were doing.

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