Thursday, June 18, 2015

Just Before Dawn (1981)

Just Before Dawn never really had the big spotlights on himself due to the release of Friday the 13th and The Burning in and around the same time. That's a shame, because quality wise it certainly deserves just as much praise as the former two. On the other hand it's understandable. Just Before Dawn doesn't have the iconic ''Cropsy'' or the brilliant gore by Tom Savini. It's a modest but great slasher movie.

Five campers arrive in the mountains to examine some property they have bought, but are warned by the forest ranger Roy McLean that a huge machete-wielding maniac has been terrorising the area. Ignoring the warnings, they set up camp, and start disappearing one by one.

Just Before Dawn certainly takes its time in the build up. It's not a big deal though as the characters aren't overly annoying, the setting is beautiful and the camerawork is very effective, creating a certain tension even though not much is happening. The atmosphere is great and even though there isn't much going on, you still continually get the strange feeling of ''being watchted by the unknown''. 

After about 45 minutes the two retard hicks (brilliant killers btw) continue their killingspree. It has been said before that the gore in this one isn't anything special. The build up to those kills are once again great though. It's a little unfortunate that the movie just lasts about 10 minutes too long. Sadly somewhere around the ending of the movie I got a bit bored. 

Just Before Dawn is definitely one of the better 80's slashers around. Unfortunately it was never really able to step out of the shadows of its big brothers like Friday the 13th and The Burning. It has got some great tension and frights, a good atmosphere and a brilliant setting. Enjoy the ride.

Fun Facts: (Source: IMDB)
Director Jeff Lieberman said that countless strangers showed up at the filming location on the day that the scene of Jamie Rose swimming topless was to be filmed. Lieberman said that word of this shoot had apparently gotten out among the local forest rangers.

According to director Jeff Lieberman, despite numerous reviewers who have stated that the film was inspired by The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) or The Hills Have Eyes (1977), he had not seen either film when he began shooting this film.  

Chris Lemmon was performing a truly dangerous stunt when he was shot clinging to ropes after his fall into the rushing river. Lemmon had to physically hang on to the ropes for some time as the powerful river pulled at him. Only a matter of feet away him was the top of a huge waterfall that was notorious for people falling to their deaths from it.

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