Monday, October 15, 2007

Just Before Dawn

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: A group of twenty-somethings heads up in the mountains to go camping. On their way, they run into a forest ranger that urges them to turn back and a crazy man who claims there's a murderer after him. Needless to say, they are foolish and don't heed the warnings (otherwise we wouldn't have a movie), and they quickly realize that there's someone lurking in the woods, out for blood.

Scariness factor: I actually was surprised by this film. I thought it did a pretty damn good job of giving you that creepy feeling you have when you go camping in the woods with nothing or no one around, engulfed in darkness, jumping at every little noise.

Gross-Out Factor: Mostly just campy 1980s knife to the stomach kind of stuff.

Complaints: I really can't think of anything major.

High Points: I first "saw" part of this film at a bar with no sound on. I got totally sucked in and have wanted to track it down for the past couple years (with no luck). Thankfully Netflix had it so I was finally able to get my hands on it. And man, did I enjoy it. The acting is actually pretty decent (albeit over the top at times). It has kind of that gritty realism that the Texas Chain Saw Massacre had. It's damn creepy in spots--the filmmakers play up on the creepiness of being totally alone in a wide open forest very well. There are a lot of spooky moments. The mood and atmosphere is damn creeps. The score is original, striking, and spooky. And I just overall liked how this movie played out. It's part realism, part camp. And I dug that. And it has a bad-ass ending, one of the female leads coming to the rescue.

Overall: This will probably be difficult to locate at a video store, but if you can get your hands on it, do so. It's totally worth checking out.

Grade: A-



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