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Review: Broken Lizard’s Club Dread

The film wants to laugh at all the bloody gore and T&A on display, but to still leave plenty of bloody gore and T&A on display.

Broken Lizard’s Club Dread
Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

There’s a problem inherent in making a spoof of a crappy horror comedy flick: In order to get to the spoof comedy, the audience still has to wade through the crappy horror flick. Broken Lizard’s Club Dread looks like something a band of stoned ex-Comedy Central staffers would come up with after one too many film nights and stand-up comedy routines. The film wants to have it both ways: to laugh at all the bloody gore and T&A on display, but to still leave plenty of bloody gore and T&A on display.

Not unlike their last film, Super Troopers, Broken Lizard (seemingly trying to brand themselves as the new National Lampoon) puts themselves in all the starring roles here and brings on one real actor to anchor the thing. The last time around, it was Brian Cox. This time it’s Bill Paxton, playing washed-up, Jimmy Buffett-esque rocker Coconut Pete, who runs an island resort with a suitably nubile, randy and none-too-bright staff. There’s trouble on Coconut Pete’s Pleasure Island, though, and before the opening credits, a trio of staffers—who tempt the horror fates by drinking, getting stoned and having a threesome in a mausoleum—get butchered by a masked, machete-wielding maniac.

The movie proper starts off pretty cleverly with a flashback to an hour before the killing, when a fresh boatload of tourists arrive, and as the major characters are introduced, just about every one of them gets the classic slow-mo/ominous music zoom-in to establish them as a possible killer or red herring. After that, Club Dread starts marking time, employing and checking off as many major horror flick tropes as it can, and the results are pretty sketchy.

There are some high points, such as when a woman tries to escape from the killer in a golf cart which moves so slowly that the killer (walking in that lumbering, determined manner familiar to Michael Myers and his ilk) is able to just stroll up and easily dispatch her, or when a tennis pro defends himself from the killer by hitting him/her with tennis balls. But most of the film fades from memory before you’ve even left the theater. While at first it’s a relief that Broken Lizard doesn’t try to spoof specific horror films, a la the Scary Movie franchise, that might ultimately have been a better road for it to have taken—at least then it might have been possible to remember more of the film.

Cast: Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske, Brittany Daniel, Jordan Ladd, Mc Gainey, Lindsay Price, Bill Paxton Director: Jay Chandrasekhar Screenwriter: Broken Lizard Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures Running Time: 104 min Rating: R Year: 2004 Buy: Video, Soundtrack

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