Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar
Produced by Richard Perello
Written by Broken Lizard
Director of Photograpy Lawrence Sher
Music by Nathan Barr
Cast: Kevin Heffernan, Jay Chandrasekhar, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhankse, Brittany Daniel & Bill Paxton
2004/104 mins/Color/5.1 DD
2.35:1 anamorphic/English/USA/NTSC Region 1
Review from the 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment DVD
Get ready for some hypocrisy: I rarely trust critics...especially when I don't agree with them. When a film which I'm anticipating gets slammed by a majority of critics, I hope that they are somehow wrong. And, as it often happens, I don't agree with those negative reviews. But, the law of averages say that even film critics have to right at some time, and I have to say that the 33% review average for CLUB DREAD at rottentomatoes.com isn't far off.
CLUB DREAD takes place at Coconut Pete's Pleasure Island, a tropical resort near Costa Rica, which is overseen by Coconut Pete (Bill Paxton), a laid-back singer whose songs deal with drinking and nautical tales. Lars (Kevin Heffernan) comes to the island to be the new masseuse and meets the rest of the resort staff; Jenny (Brittany Daniel), aerobics instructor; Juan (Steve Lemme), watersports; Putman (Jay Chandrasekhar), tennis; Dave (Paul Soter), and DJ; Sam (Eric Stolhanske), fun police. After the boat to the island leaves, a masked killer begins to take out the staff one member at a time. As the bodies pile up, the surviving staffers have to decipher the killer's clues and attempt to find a way off of the island.
CLUB DREAD comes form the Broken Lizard comedy troupe who were responsible for the 2001 sleeper hit, SUPER TROOPERS. I had expected that film to be an AIRPLANE! type spoof, but it was basically a straight-ahead comedy which poked fun at law enforcement and bureaucracy. CLUB DREAD leans more towards satire, as it lampoons horny teenagers get killed slasher films, and in particular I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER. (Is that a good move to spoof?), and the Coconut Pete character is a take-off on Jimmy Buffet. (Was anyone waiting for that?) But unlike the SCARY MOVIE films, which are played mostly for comedy, CLUB DREAD attempts to mix odd-ball humor with scenes of murder and violence. The problem with this movie is that it fails in both departments.
When taken as a whole, SUPER TROOPERS is just an OK film, but it's made up of some simply hilarious parts (some of which are classics), and I'd expected something similar from CLUB DREAD. But, the movie only has a handful of funny moments. The rest of the jokes are either too dumb for their own good, or simply aren't funny. (Although, the scene in the maze had me laughing out loud.) As for the horror elements, the movie is never scary, but it is surprisingly gory in spots, especially the finale. (Actually, I can easily see the finale getting trimmed from a "serious" horror film.) So, for me, CLUB DREAD was mostly a bore. The movie wasn't funny or scary, and most of all, I expected much more from Broken Lizard. Hopefully, CLUB DREAD is simply a miscue from this group and their next project will achieve or exceed the level of SUPER TROOPERS. (I do have a feeling that I'll like CLUB DREAD better the second time I watch it, but I was still disappointed.)
CLUB DREAD parties onto DVD courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. This DVD contains both a widescreen and full-frame version of this film. For the purposes of this review, only the widescreen version was viewed. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The transfer is fairly good, especially the bright colors which fill the film. The image is quite well-balanced and the nighttime scenes are never overly dark. The grain level is quite low and there are very few visible defects from the source print. There are some obvious problems with artifacting and these are most obvious during camera moves. The DVD contains a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The musical cues sound great and resound through the rear speakers and get a boost from the subwoofer. The stereo effects are good and overall, the track is very serviceable.
The CLUB DREAD DVD contains only two special features, both of which are audio commentaries. The first features Chandrasekhar and Stolhanske, which the second contains Heffernan, Lemme, and Soter. Both of these tracks are fun and free-spirited, as one would expect from these guys. The information provided does overlap at times, but both tracks do a good job of providing information about location shooting and the cast. And of course, there are some funny anecdotes from the making of the film. Now, here are two interesting tidbits for fans of the film. In the first commentary, Chandrasekhar mentions an extended cut of CLUB DREAD, when the DVD is placed in a DVD-Rom drive, it is identified at "CLUB DREAD_Rated", which would imply that there is an unrated version out there somewhere. So, will this title get the special edition treatment down the road? We shall see.
This Film Features:
Review by Mike Long. All Right Reserved. 2004. ©