Dead Before Dawn 3D: Film Review
A horde of "zemons" -- half zombie, half demon -- creates gory mayhem in this horror comedy.
Operating from the dubious premise that what the world really needs is yet another zombie comedy, the infantile Dead Before Dawn 3D seems geared for kids despite its gore-earned R rating. Offering few thrills and even fewer laughs, the film might generate some interest on home video formats thanks to the presence of veteran actor Christopher Lloyd, but its theatrical prospects could well be summed up by its title.
Devon Bostick, of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise, stars as the cutely named Casper, a college student whose grandfather (Lloyd) runs “The Occult Barn,” the wares of which you can probably imagine. Caspar is deathly afraid of the place due to a terrifying incident from his childhood, but he nonetheless accedes to gramps’ request that he watch the shop for a little while.
Desperate to impress a girl on whom he has a crush, Casper makes the mistake of showing her and his friends an ominous looking urn which promptly breaks. This unleashes a curse which makes anyone who looks into their eyes kill themselves and return as a “zemon” -- presumably, the term has been trademarked -- which, for those of you who can’t guess, is a half zombie, half demon.
Chaos, if not hilarity, ensues, as the stereotypical characters, including a goofy stoner, a sexy cheerleader who can’t stop striking sexy poses, etc., attempt to stop the growing horde of zemons who infect others by giving them … hickies.
Young director April Mullen and screenwriter Tim Doiron, who also produced and play two of the beleaguered college kids, certainly deserve some credit for devising some elaborately staged mayhem on an obviously very low budget. But the broad, sophomoric gags generate few if any real laughs, and it’s only the entertaining comic turn by Lloyd, who at one point delivers an in-joke based on his Back to the Future character, that prevents the proceedings from feeling wholly amateurish.
Opens Sept. 6 (Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment)
Production: WANGO Films
Cast: Christopher Lloyd, Devon Bostick, Martha MacIsaac, Brandon Jay McLaren, Brittany Allen, Kevin McDonald, Kyle Schmid, Rossif Sutherland, Ellen Dubin
Director: April Mullen
Screenwriter: Tim Doiron
Producers: April Mullen, Tim Doiron
Executive producer: Avi Federgreen
Director of photography: Daniel Grant
Editor: Luke Higginson
Production designer: Faye Mullen
Costume designer: Olivia Sementsova
Rated R, 88 min.