Sunday, September 26, 2010

Just Before Dawn

Just Before Dawn (1981)
During the early 80's horror films hit a huge boom and the market became saturated with the sub-genre of the Slasher flick taking over. Some became classics such as Friday the 13th and Halloween and Many knock off's flat out sucked, But somewhere in between were some over looked lesser known titles which truly were pretty awesome such as The Prowler, The Burning, Maniac among the top of that list. Well Just before Dawn should be added to that list of forgotten or Lost treasures. The film in itself is your standard campground madman on the loose film with the usual fodder for the blade, Such as the group of young folk complete with the Hero and Heroine ,The prankster, The Slutty girl and the Nerd all in place for the film to start off on a stereotypical and familiar terrain. But  I gotta say this one has some pretty nice twists for it's time, Some twists that have since become kind of cliche' but again this movie was out years beforehand so it is given a pass. So five young campers head deep into the woods to look at some property they have recently purchased and along the way are told by locals to stay away from that neck of the woods, Of course they do not listen to the warnings and head out anyway. While setting up camp before dark they do a little sight seeing and hear a girl singing in the distance , Upon further investigation they see a young girl at the bottom of the mountain singing by the lake, When the group tries to get her attention the girl runs away. Later we see this girl again while The Prankster and the slutty girl are skinny dipping and the young girl watches from behind cover But scatters as a large man is seen approaching from behind a waterfall. The prankster pretends to drown to scare the slutty girl and then does it a second time only to swim under the water to the other side to land , this is when a hand reaches up from the water to grab the naked camper and she sees that it is not her friend and she obviously freaks but gets away un harmed and no one is seen coming out of the water so the group thinks she is crazy. The next morning some stuff is missing from their campgrounds and The prankster Johnathan decides to go looking for it and here is when we get into the action. While searching the woods john runs into the young girl who flirts with him and then plays a innocent game of cat and mouse which leads to a rope bridge, John decides to show that is is safe and once upon it the Large man or "Demon" the group was warned about shows up and hacks away at the bridge causing john to fall to the lake bellow , After a long and strenuous climb back up the mountain The large man is somehow on the other side now and kicks him back into the water. Later the two Main characters are fishing when Johns body floats over to them drowned and dead. Meanwhile The nerd/photographer Dan and The slutty girl Megan stumble upon a graveyard and small church we see earlier in the opening scene, so they decide to do a photo shoot, and of course the killer arrives and cuts these folk down with a seraded Machete blade. When the Campers do not arrive at the camp site our leads Connie and Warren get worried and decide to find the family of the young girl who warned them of the impending doom to get more info and they are offered nothing. Later in the film we find that These "Demons"  or "Devils" the locals warned the group about is in fact part of the strange family related to the young girl who keeps showing up and there is two killers , Two Large twin brother rednecks with a thing for chopping people up.I all honesty allot of this film is your standard slasher fair but what this film does is truly adds depth to the film and it's scares through the atmosphere. It is shot extremely well and is honestly much scarier than any of the Camp Crystal Lake suspenceless hack and slash films. The best part though is hands down the last scene involving the showdown between the Killers and the two survivors which involves a really unique twist and a Kill that you will leave the film talking about.It is not the most gory killing but it truly comes out of nowhere and has some serious WTF appeal. This film doesn't really have nearly as much gore as many of the others in this sub-genre but it makes up for that in story telling and a creepy environment , What it does it does well, and really never hits a boring slump. Plus I can't stress how awesome I think the ending is, It truly makes you think something is going to happen and then something you totally didn't see happening comes out of nowhere and I gotta appreciate that. So if you like Slasher flicks you will like this one no doubt about it but if you are looking for something more heavy on the gore but in the same vein stick with Hatchet.
4 out of 5

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