Broken Lizard's Club Dread
Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar. Starring Bill Paxton, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Jay Chandrasekhar, Erik Stolhanske, Kevin Heffernan, Brittany Daniel, Jordan Ladd. (2004, R, 103 min.)
REVIEWED By Marrit Ingman, Fri., Feb. 27, 2004
Now, I’m not saying Club Dread is genius cinema – in fact, it’s pretty stupid – but there are worse ways to spend the 100 or so minutes required for this horror parody from the Broken Lizard comedy troupe (the creators of 2001’s Super Troopers). It might even be worth a ticket just to check out Paxton slumming as Coconut Pete, the dazed and confused Jimmy Buffett manqué who owns and operates Pleasure Island, the kind of tropical resort where uniformed "Fun Police" shoot tequila from Super Soakers into the slobbery mouths of horny singles. The movie hybridizes summer-camp slasher flicks with those goofball lowbrow beach farces (think Private Resort or the Hardbodies oeuvre). Nubile young women get topless in an ancient Costa Rican graveyard ("Isn’t this, like, sacred or something? Let’s at least go inside that old mausoleum!"), while wacky point-of-view shots reveal gratuitously gory and innovative murders. To my knowledge, the movie features a celluloid first: the killer’s POV shot from inside a giant foam pineapple costume. It’s all pretty corny – there will be jokes about Oral Roberts University, a realistic-looking rubber dildo will be waggled about, and director Chandrasekhar seems overwhelmed by his double-duty as a dreadlocked Anglophone tennis pro – but the movie has its pleasures, particularly for audiences who are accustomed to the genre and the idiosyncrasies of shoestring filmmaking. The supporting players lend some cult appeal, having been culled from a number of defunct sitcoms. (It’s always a pleasure to see Samm Levine, late of Freaks and Geeks.) There are some real laughs in here, and I liked the easy way the cast has with one another onscreen. The whole enterprise has a breezy, offhand "Hey, let’s make a movie!" feel to it, as if everyone’s actually having a lark running around in the jungle smeared with fake blood, and that feeling invites a viewer’s indulgence. It is really gory, for the record – though it’s too silly and insufficiently twisted to slake the appetite of the hardcore gorehound, it’s not something to take a kid to.