Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Friday, March 28, 2014


Dead Before Dawn 3D (2012) Canada

I just happened upon several zombie films by sheer desper... err, I mean sheer chance. The next movie on our Pure Terror Movie Marathon is an incredible stinker called Manster, a black-and-white movie with lots and lots of climbing scenes up an active volcano in suits, ties, and loafers, as well as another lesson about how crappy Americans are (according to this movie anyway). Yeesh.

So I found three films, one that seemed to be directed toward the teen set, one for adults, and one that showed that no matter how old you are, if the Zombie Apocalypse happens and they are Romero zombies, old persons with walkers can still get away clean.

Kevin McDonald's part was very, VERY small...
This one was interesting, dumb, a little bit funny, a little bit inventive, and a lot of entries into the land of incredible coincidences. For some reason, there's everyone's favorite crazy doc, Christopher Lloyd, a small role for Kevin McDonald (Kids In The Hall) and Rossif Sutherland (Keifer's half-brother, seen in the Lost Boys sequel). Since this film was Canadian, I didn't recognize any other names. 

This film had a lot to brag about; it is the first film shot in live action stereoscopic 3D, and for some reason they need to tell you that a woman directed it so they could say, unnecessarily, that this is the first Canadian stereoscopic 3D film directed by a woman. Okay.

Christopher Lloyd plays the grandfather of a boy named Casper. Yes, that is his name, Casper. The family owns a business called the Occult Barn. They never close. That means that both the grandfather and Casper's father trade off shifts in order to keep it open at all times. So already the setup is a little, uh, silly. 

When Casper was a small boy, an accident at the Barn took the life of his father. After that, Casper became afraid of everything. He also stayed far away from the family business, meaning that his grandfather practically lived in the place which, of course, is impossible. He's gotta sleep sometime.

One day, so we can get the movie started, his grandfather receives a trophy for a lifetime achievement at being a weirdo. Just kidding. But he does receive an award. So in order to get it, he asks Casper to watch the store while he's gone. Okay now we have our set up because Casper, being the typical teenager, brings all his friends with him. They of course don't believe in the occult and so they mess around the place, touching things are not supposed to touch, and picking up things they're not supposed to pick up.

The item that killed Casper's father was a strange looking urn with a skull on top. So of course they zero in on that same item because, as I said, this movie has to get started. Now these are all supposed to be college kids, and surprisingly enough, they looked like they might be. They're certainly stupid enough to be. But just to be sure I checked several of the actors profiles and found that their ages ranged from the early 20s and one was even in his 30s. Whoops. 

The woman who directs and produces, April Mullen, also gave herself a role in this movie. I could not find a page with her age on it, however, she seems to have been acting and directing for 10 to 15 years. I very much doubt that that puts her in the college-age range. 

This particular urn has a very nasty curse on it. Casper's father was killed just by touching it. But since this movie needs to move along, the kids are able to touch it, as well as toss it around like idiots. Of course, the urn falls to the floor and breaks. Casper's frantic. The others, however, since they don't believe in curses, make fun of him. 

Especially when he tells them that he does not know what the curse is. So, being kids, they decide to make up one of their own. This is that brief part of the movie that actually shows a little imagination. Each one adds their own little idea into this curse they make and so it goes as such:

After 10 o'clock that night, anyone who makes eye contact with them is compelled to commit suicide. They decide that the dead come back as zombies, but then changed their minds because the zombie idea has been played out. What about demons? one asks. No, we don't want demons. So one suggests, how about half demon and half zombie; a zemon. They agree. But that's not enough. 

One girl who is made to be oversexed, decides that zemons do not bite. They give you hickeys. When one receives a hickey, they become a zemon themselves. The oversexed girl adds one more little rule: If you are confronted by a zemon, they will become your slave forever if you French kiss them. Eww. What they don't know is, that if the curse is not broken before morning, it becomes permanent.

So as Casper cleans up, the rest go on their merry way; after all, there's a football game at the college that night. When 10 o'clock approaches, Casper becomes convinced that the curse is not going to happen. He goes down from his room to see his mother. She starts acting strange and ends up taking a toaster into the bathtub with her and becomes a zemon. Frantically, he realizes it's all coming true and runs to the college to warn his friends. But he's too late.

For some reason, at this particular college, football games apparently go on long after 10 o'clock at night because once 10 o'clock comes, the ones that are in the stands, the cheerleader, and the football player, all make eye contact with different people who immediately kill themselves and give hickeys to others. Soon all the game attendees are infected. And these are the fast zombies. Oh, excuse me, I meant zemons. These zemons sprint, jump over things, parkour and generally catch their prey with no problem.

The ones who created the curse decided to go back to the Occult Barn. There they find Casper's grandfather back from his award ceremony. Imagine my surprise and slight disgust when Casper's grandfather finds the urn broken and exclaims 'Great Scott!' Really? I mean, really? 

Anyway, he tells the idiots that the only way to break the curse is to restore the urn before dawn. He has a book that gives instructions on how to do this but they have to figure it out on their own, because they have looked him in the eye, so he crushes his own skull in with his trophy.

After the kids discover what they need to do to break the curse, we get a horrible montage of each kid finding some sort of weapon; mostly from household items. This takes forever. Or at least it just felt that way. And after Casper's grandfather explains (before he kills himself) that part of the ingredients they will need to and the curse is buried with Casper's greats grandfather, they feel the need to do yet another weapon gathering montage. 

It feels five times as long this time. They also need other items, some they will need to get at the college. Problem is, most of the zemons are also at the college. What to do, what to do. Stupid kids. And this is where the movie really starts to bog down. That was the problem with this film, it had some good ideas, but they never really followed through with them. You always felt like things were only halfway done. And even though the movie was only 88 minutes, because of those lapses it felt much longer.

So. They need the following items: Casper's great-grandfathers watch, a replacement urn (they decide to use a mug instead), and a human skull to seal it with. Thus, the trip to the college. They have the mug, Casper is in charge of digging up the grave, and the football player is in charge of taking a human skull from the biology lab. Why they didn't just use Caspers great-grandfathers skull (They're digging him up anyway, right?), I guess we'll never know.

But these are just stupid college kids. That means they fail. Miserably. Oh, they get the items all right, but they all die in the process. Casper is devastated, but he puts the new urn together as the book instructs. 

Then he notices that the book of instructions, after he follows the procedure, starts printing new instructions to complete. The final touch in order to break the curse is that an innocent life must be sacrificed. Since Casper is pretty much the only one left to live by this time, of course it's going to be him. He has a grenade. To break the curse he sets off the grenade, but just as it goes off the movie does that massive piss off that I hate with a vengeance: it resets itself.

Time goes backwards. Everyone dead is alive again, there is no curse, and although the kids remember what happened and the new urn is still a mug, everyone is all right. Shoot. Me. Now. We have the happy ending of all the stupid kids, somehow, graduating. Casper and his now-girlfriend visit his grandfather at the Occult Barn, explaining that they want to work for him to pay for their new apartment. 

So Horus (Casper's grandfather's name - see why I didn't want to use that before? Do you know how many words sound like 'Horus' to a dictation program?) is delighted because, since the Occult Barn never closes, he can now go on a vacation. Casper and his girlfriend look around but pay absolutely no attention to what they're doing, and as they begin making out… Say it with me… Saaaaay iiiiiit! 

They knock against the shelves and yes, they break the urn yet once again. They both look at each other and exclaim, 'We're dead!' Massive duh.

So, just like a lot of teen comedies or horror/comedies, this one had some interesting ideas. It was an almost-interesting premise, not very good acting though, plus the puzzling appearance by Christopher Lloyd, and just not enough juice to carry a full movie. Even though it was only 88 minutes, this story could have been told in an hour or less. 

It just didn't have enough of anything solid to keep the interest of the audience. If I actually graded things, this would get a C+ for effort, a D for story progression and special effects, a D- for the ending, and an F for shooting it in freaking 3D!