Friday, 20 June 2014

DEAD BEFORE DAWN 3D - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Dreadful Canadian Horror-Comedy Besmirches Maple Leaf. This Niagara Integrated Film Festival (NIFF 2014) offering is best reserved for undiscriminating audiences.


Delivered to films too bad to garner one-star (*).

Said films would normally then receive the "One Pubic Hair" rating, however, not to besmirch the fine pubic hair recipient Sharknado by lumping it in (so to speak) with genuine turds, I was forced to create a critical rating even lower for Ridley Scott's abominable The Counsellor.

The Rating is, quite simply and evocatively:


As pictured to the left, this an actual turd found by myself and Project Grizzly filmmaker Peter Lynch in the illustrious Parkdale parking lot behind Harry's wherein the two of us had just dined with writer Geoff Pevere.

Recipients of this hallowed rating since Scott's atrocity have been the wretched 2014 remake of Endless Love, the putrid Veronica Mars movie and the horrendous 2014 Godzilla.

Now, please feel free to add:

Dead Before Dawn 3D to the aforementioned list of recipients of this most appalling critical rating which will, one hopes, seal the work's fate in some manner of infamy.

How did I get into this movie?
Oh yeah, some Canadian paid me.
Gimme a Blue, eh?
Dead Before Dawn 3D (2013) Dir. April Mullen
Starring: Devon Bostick, Christopher Lloyd
Review By Greg Klymkiw
Some movies are so pathetic it feels like shooting dead fish in a barrel to bother reviewing them. Normally, Dead Before Dawn 3D would be such a picture as it's certainly a dead enough fish and the barrel it floats in reeks of rotting malodorous offals, but its filmmakers have ambitiously tricked the normally appealing Devon Bostick into taking the lead role, plopped the bankable genre icon Christopher Lloyd into a decent-sized cameo and bothered to shoot the film in stereoscopic 3-D. Chances are good that plenty of folks will be conned into laying out cold, hard cash to see this fetid tin o' tuna. This, then, requires further investigation.

The horrendously stupid and juvenile screenplay by Tim Doiron makes the fatal error of dialling the tone of humour down to the level of some half-witted inbred or worse, most suburban tweener-teener mall rats of, shall we say dubious breeding and/or rearing and in so doing, serves up some of the dumbest dialogue and hopelessly unfunny gags imaginable.

The plot, such as it is, involves teenager Bostick as a geeky lad living amongst the leafy greens of Niagara wine country who agrees to help out goofy grandpa Christopher Lloyd by holding down the fort at the wild-eyed old coot's occult shop. (Isn't that convenient?) Upon departing, Lloyd, on his way to pick up an award from an Occult Society, warns Bostick to never touch a mysterious urn.

Well, obviously he does.

Bostick, you see, is hung up on a teen babe played by Martha McIsaac who turns out to be an occult buff (conveniently) and when she and a bunch of other teens enter the store, the urn is retrieved for the babe's edification and breaks. Not only does the urn break, but the other kids begin joking about its occult properties and inadvertently conjure up one mega-curse wherein townspeople begin turning into combo-zombies-demons. As hell breaks loose, it's up to Bostick to break the curse.

Director April Mullen camera-jockeys the proceedings with near-borderline competence, but the movie is jam-packed with dreadful digital effects and sub-par makeup design work and the whole mess is finally so low-budget that the setting itself seems ludicrously under-populated. Not that the godawful script helps matters, but Mullens's directorial "touch" is to play everything for overwrought hilarity and/or horror - so much so, that the movie begins to plod with the kind of dullness one gets when a picture's frantic qualities just plain wear you down.

Apparently, Dead Before Dawn is the first stereoscopic 3-D film shot in its entirety by a female director and also purports to be the first-ever stereoscopic 3-D film made as a full-fledged all-Canadian feature in Canuckland. Both attributes mean little since the overall compositions of the shots are so dull that the depth of 3-D means zilch and the few comin-at-ya' f/X stink to high heaven. Also, Canada has actually generated a genuinely fine all-Canuck 3-D feature film. It might not be full-on back-to-back 3-D, but it was actually shot ON FILM as opposed to the much inferior red-cam digital. Oh, and it was made over 50-years-ago in Toronto. Directed by Julian Roffman (I'll grant you, he's not a female), his 1961 3=D effort The Mask is a genuinely cool movie and a far more historic contribution to both the history of genre films and, of course, Canadian film history.

Dead Before Dawn 3-D is one of those horrid Canadian films that wants us to applaud it because the movie was simply made and because its filmmaker chose to attack it - seemingly - to get into the record books, rather than to generate a good movie. Granted the picture was cobbled together to make money, but that's hardly an achievement when there are a lot of dreadful movies that make far more money than this will ever make and frankly, aren't quite as mind-numbingly mediocre.

Worse yet, is that the film seems genuinely aimed at a youth audience, but it dumbs itself down, treating them like morons. My own 13-year-old daughter Julia caught on to this while watching it with me. She occasionally reviews films at the Film Corner as my junior cub reporter (you can read some of Julia's reviews by clicking HERE), but after seeing Dead Before Dawn 3-D she yawned, then remarked, "I'm going to pass on writing about this, Dad. Life's too short."

Indeed it is.

Dead Before Dawn 3D plays at the Niagara Integrated Film Festival (NIFF 2014). For ticket info, click HERE.