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Dead Before Dawn (Blu-ray Review)

3 Oct, 2013 By: Ashley Ratcliff

Gaiam Vivendi
$14.93 DVD, $19.97 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for violence and some sexual references.
Stars Devon Bostick, Christopher Lloyd, Martha MacIsaac.

Dead Before Dawn employs the familiar components of a zombie film that audiences have come to enjoy but ups the ante by introducing an interesting concept: zemons. A legion of the part zombie, part demon creature wreaks havoc on a town when a curse is accidentally unleashed by a group of college students.

It all begins when Horus “Gramps” Galloway (the illustrious Christopher Lloyd) asks his grandson, Casper (Devon Bostick), to look after his occult shop. But before handing him over the keys, Gramps emphasizes that no one can touch a particularly peculiar urn, since doing so would release an evil curse. Well, soon thereafter, Casper has a few friends over to the shop, his crush (Martha MacIsaac) shows interest in the urn, and she drops it on the floor. Before we know it, the curse is unleashed, thus causing all who make eye contact with the group of friends to kill themselves and turn into zemons.

To reverse the calamity, the gang, armed with makeshift weapons and a rickety Winnebago, set off on a night of zemon hunting. Unlike zombies that eat brains, zemons give hickies. Random enough, the team finds that if you seduce the zemons, they will become slaves. Dead Before Dawn also has a surprise element that turns the zombie folklore on its head.

Sight gags provide plenty of comedic fodder, which makes any attempts by the filmmakers to induce terror fall short. If you’re looking to be scared, look elsewhere. Superb acting from Bostick and Lloyd, however, make up for this minor shortfall. It’s good to see Lloyd in his element playing Gramps, a character not too far away from his iconic role as Dr. Emmett Brown in the “Back to the Future” films.

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