Just Before Dawn (1981)

Wilderness horror is very popular type of B movie. Mostly due to the fact that man has removed himself so far from nature these days that the idea of people who want (but mostly have) to live in the back of beyond, seem strange, almost alien to your average Blackberry toting city kid, who’s never been further than a hop skip and a Starbucks from a takeaway skinny latte and a hipster bar in their lives.

It doesn’t help that films like Deliverance and Texas Chainsaw Massaccre have done nothing to assuage the instant distrust of local families in these areas, and the knowledge that every horror you’ve seen forces you to associate them with poor dental hygiene, the imminent threat of hillbilly rape and having to lament the times that you didn’t do that Aerobics Dvd as much as you should have, while you’re running for your life in a skimpy outfit.

Let’s face it, stereotypes make excellent media fodder, but they do nothing for the tourist industry most of the time.
For instance, who really wants to go to a beach bar in New Jersey if there is the slightest chance that you could run into an oiled up, orange roid-ranger who has renamed himself ‘’The Situation’’?

Now that, my friends is definition of horror.

All American blondie Warren has bought some land up in the mountains (how and for what purpose we just don’t know), and takes his Debbie downer of a sweetheart and their three friends to go camping and check what the kid has wasted his dollar on. The forest ranger tells them not to go, warning them they probably wont come back and after ignoring his pretty convincing advice they carry on, encountering a stranger half way there, covered in blood and dirt and raving about murder, killers and demons. What a buzzkill, right? The kids leave him stranded in the same spot commenting on the fact he’ll probably die, so throw him some sandwiches out the window to stave off the inevitable. Consciences cleared they haul their asses on their merry way into a fun filled weekend of inappropriate camping attire, and definitely less luggage to carry on the way back if you catch my drift.

Just Before Dawn has been lauded as one of the better redneck horrors of the eighties, but honestly I thought it was awful. There was no sense of suspense or tension, no hint of mystery, and certainly no scares that I saw. I watched every minute of a film that lurched painfully between boring and extremely annoying (Seriously, I would have killed both of the main ”actresses” if only to stop them opening their wordholes.), meaning I took nothing away from the experience but a slight sense of irritation, and a strong urge to apologise to my television for forcing it to be part of it.

I heard a rumour that Wrong Turn was loosely based on this forgettable slasher and all I can say is that I’m glad they proved that recycling is good for the world. They took utter garbage and made something mildly entertaining out of it.

The world makes sense once more.

This entry was posted in critique, fiction, film and media, horror, opinion, pop culture, rant and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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