Dead Before Dawn is a Canadian horror comedy starring Devon Bostick (from the Wimpy Kid movies) as Casper Galloway, an average, insecure college student. After taking care of his grandfather’s occult book shop, Casper and his friends make the mistake of touching and breaking a “cursed” urn. However, they make up their own curse – one which causes a plague of “zemons” -zombie demons that are possessed by the cursed urn that don’t eat brains but give hickies and cause mass suicide and more zemons. With this originality, the movie should have a cute, silly plot, but in reality, it doesn’t hold much weight.
Bostick is a natural comedian in this capacity. His exaggeration and zaniness works well in regard to the script. The script itself is supposed to be over the top, and it has some moments of hilarity. While Bostick’s acting abilities mesh with the story, actor Tim Doiron comes across like a photocopy of a young Jim Carrey impression. His fedora wearing character ends up seeming unoriginal and distracting. Watching without knowing that both Doiron and female lead April Mullen are actually the creators of the film, was actually beneficial. To go back and rewatch the movie knowing this would have had made it less enjoyable due to the fact that their characters already feel like they are trying to steal the story away from Casper. Even with veteran Christopher Lloyd as Casper’s grandfather, this goofy movie falls a bit short in its slapstick routine. Perhaps it is supposed to be just that, but it has a presence that tries to suggest otherwise.
The bluray disc has a trailer, character profiles, bloopers, behind the scenes, music videos and a 45 minute making of feature. The cast and crew are very enthusiastic about how incredible director April Mullen and everyone else involved is. The feature runs a bit long in repeating itself, plus the constant boasting about how Mullen is the ‘first female and youngest director to direct a live action Stereoscopic 3D feature film’ is off-putting. Repeating this almost seems like a tactic to bandage the fact that the film itself isn’t groundbreaking – even with ‘half zombie, half demon, all zemon’ being a chant some fans could get behind. It is unfortunate that I was not sent the 3D Blu-ray for review, as it could have possibly added to the entertainment value.
I first heard about Dead Before Dawn when it was being promoted at the 2012 FanExpo in Toronto. With the story being more concept than substance, there is a reason it took over a year for the film to have wide release. For as nice as the production value of Dead Before Dawn is, it is a shame the film isn’t more entertaining.