Review by Gordon Justesen
Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske, Brittany
Daniel, Bill Paxton
Director: Jay Chandrasekhar
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Surround, Spanish Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1, Full Screen 1.33:1
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Features: See Review
Length: 104 Minutes
Release Date: May 25, 2004
you bringing any weapons?”
have all the weapons I need.”
on that, I’m bringing a ma-she-tay!”
The horror movie
spoof has been done before, most notably in the form of Scary Movie, but never in the form of such sheer lunacy as in Club
Dread, the latest comedy from the offbeat comedy troupe, Broken Lizard. You
may recall the troupe’s first theatrical endeavor Super
Troopers from a couple of years back. I was a bit mixed on that film. I
found its structure, even for a lowbrow comedy, a bit curious but found many
individual scenes to be insanely funny.
Dread is definitely an improvement by comparison, consisting of many endless
laughs, most of the time in bad taste, and never hesitating to display as much
bloody gore as an average horror flick. Never before has the line between
laughter and horror seemed so stretched out. But then again, most horror movies
consist of unintentional laughs (I Know
What You Did Last Summer, anyone?), so it’s clear what elements Broken
Lizard is spoofing, even if they’ve left in the bloody parts to mix in with
The zaniness takes
place on an island getaway named Coconut Pete’s Pleasure Island, where a
who’s who of horny party goers/potential victims have come to enjoy a week’s
worth of endless partying fun. The film’s hero is the island’s newly hired
masseur, Lars (Kevin Heffernan), who is greeted by his fellow employees. They
include sexy aerobics instructor Jenny (Brittany Daniel), tennis instructor
Putman (Jay Chandrasekhar), watersports guru Juan (Steve Lemme), club DJ/ecstasy
supplier Dave (Paul Soter) and Sam (Erik Stolhanske), head of the “Fun
The host of the
festivities is none other than Coconut Pete, played by a hilarious, show
stealing Bill Paxton. Pete is a rock n’ roll burnout who has hopes of igniting
a future concert tour alongside Billy Squire and Eddie Money. His music style is
in the vein of Jimmy Buffet. There’s even a riotous stab at the song “Margaritaville”,
when Pete tries to point out that a song of his, the similarly themed “Pina
Colada-burg”, was in fact written seven years prior. He blames Buffet’s song
for destroying his brief, one hit wonder career.
Once the island
crew realizes that a maniac slasher wielding a machete is offing many of the
vacationers and employees…well, there still a bit clueless. The only message
that the killer leaves is instructions for the staff to keep doing their job,
and not to tell anyone what’s going on. Therefore, Coconut Pete maintains his
scheduled week of fun partying for his guests, but of course, the body count
keeps piling up.
The victims are
wiped out in the most over the top ways, which supply even more low taste
laughs. The funniest one comes during a human version of Pac Man being played in
a garden maze, with alcohol substituting as the power dots and several people
dressed in fruit costumes. Here, the killer dons a pineapple costume and slashes
a man dressed as a pear. Other killings consist of victims pretty much getting
themselves killed thanks to incredibly stupid escape attempts. What’s more, it
is soon discovered that the killer is murdering according to specific lyrics to
one of Coconut Pete’s songs, an acid trip anthem even he can’t remember
In short, Club
Dread is a triumph of bad taste, which in this case I was more than welcome
to. The low brow humor, mixed in with the over the top violence, as well as the
hilarious hijinks courtesy of the Broken Lizard team, not to mention that of Mr.
Paxton, whose stab at Jimmy Buffet is his most outstanding piece of comedic work
since True Lies.
In the end, the
result is a level of humor that you will either like or reject. Luckily for me,
I got into the bizarre spirit of it all, and laughed many a time. Take it from
me; Club Dread is a horrific comedy
trip worth taking.
presentation is as gloriously superior as always, proving once again that Fox
delivers the visual goods no matter what kind of movie is at hand. The tropical
setting provides in some truly good image detail, and the night time sequences,
which there are plenty of, turn out extremely good as well. Colors are strong
and vibrant, and there isn’t a hint of an image flaw in sight. The disc is a
two sided one, with the full screen on the main side and the widescreen on the
reverse, so in other words, flip the disc before you watch it.
The 5.1 mix
supplied here gets the job done in top-drawing fashion. Even for a horror movie
spoof, the sound still manages to induce moments of fury, such as in the loud
music cues which precede a killing, etc. In addition, such set pieces as Coconut
Pete’s opening concert greeting and several rave club sequences offer high
points as well. Dialogue is clean and clear as always, and the overall range is
much better than I anticipated.
Included are two
separate commentary tracks by members of the Broken Lizard troupe. The first
includes star and director Jay Chandrasekhar and co-star Erik Stolhanske. The
second includes fellow cast mates Kevin Heffernan, Paul Soter and Steve Lemme.
Lastly, there is a soundtrack spot.
commentary tracks can only be accessed on the widescreen edition.