Club Dread
directed by Jay Chandrasekhar
(Broken Lizard, 2004)

Some movies are no more than they need to be.

What? You want depth and meaning in everything you watch? Not me. Sometimes I enjoy kicking back with a mindless feature that does nothing more than entertain me for two hours. On those days, Club Dread is a perfect selection.

Set at Coconut Pete's Coconut Beach Resort on Pleasure Island, Club Dread is a fairly typical teen slasher spoof. It's sexy (suffice it to say, co-stars include Brittany Daniel and Jordan Ladd). Better yet, it's funny. Murders are cleverly done. And, surprisingly, the movie keeps you guessing to the end who the killer really is.

The cast of characters includes Pete, a washed-up, drugged-out Jimmy Buffett clone played with amusing distraction by Bill Paxton. Brittany Daniel is Jenny, the sexy aerobics instructor, and Jordan Ladd is Penelope, the sexually obsessive gymnast. Kevin Heffernan is Lars, the masseur; Steve Lemme is Juan, the dive instructor; Jay Chandrasekhar is Putnam, the tennis coach; Paul Soter is Dave, the DJ/drug connection; and Erik Stolhanske is Sam, the fun police. There are assorted guests, too, but they mostly don't matter; the killer is hunting only the staff.

Before it's over, you'll learn a few simple rules for evading death in a horror spoof:

• Never handcuff yourself to a bed when there's a killer in the vicinity.
• Never try to escape a madman in a cart that travels at less than a brisk walking pace.
• When cliffdiving, make sure water doesn't fly up your butt.
• When fleeing a crazed killer and the safety of a crowd is in sight, never turn around to see if he's still behind you.
• Girls should be taken off the list of suspects if they 1) want to have sex with you, and 2) are professional gymnasts.
• Most dedicated murderers can shrug off a few tennis balls, no matter how good your serve.
• A pineapple with a machete trumps a pear on the run in live Pac-Man games.
• You don't even want to know what the pretzel was doing to the watermelon.
• The killer is never quite dead.

There you are. Armed with these simple tips, chances are good you'll come back from Club Dread alive.

by Tom Knapp
18 November 2006

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