Club Dread (2004) Revisited – Horror Movie Review

Have you seen Broken Lizard’s horror comedy slasher Club Dread? If not, it might be the best horror movie you never saw

You probably cringe at the thought of hearing about a movie from a group of comedians coming out with a slasher film, right? Well, let me just say that horror comedies weren’t typically prevalent back when horror had the Carpenters, Cravens, Romeros, and Cronenbergs slashing about in Hollywood. Everything was serious in tone and brought the stuff made of nightmares. You had your infamous slasher icons like Michael, Freddy, Jason, and even Chucky. You also had horror movie monsters like The Thing, The Great White Shark from Jaws, Brundlefly, Godzilla, and even Tremors. But then, as we entered a new millennium, Horror started to ease up on the tension and seriousness, in exchange for some quick wit and laughs. Horror brought in a new style into its genre with comedic undertones which was a great opening for some new films in the pipeline to help branch horror into unfamiliar territory. In 2004, a group of comedians by the name of Broken Lizard were hot off the heels of their first theatrical debut entitled, Super Troopers, and decided to up the ante with their next film, opening the creative gates into the horror slasher subgenre. Known for their hilarious antics, gross gags, and sexual debauchery, they decided to create 2004’s Club Dread (watch it HERE). But does Club Dread belong alongside the other great slashers of our time? Or is it a forgettable one-hit wonder? Let’s deep dive and see if director Jay Chandrasekhar’s Club Dread may be one of the Best Horror Movies You Never Saw.

This was director Jay Chandrasekhar’s second directorial effort after Super Troopers which came out of nowhere when it first debuted in theaters. While Jay doesn’t have many years behind the director’s chair, he has a great eye for what a horror film needs to be. Club Dread has a great playground as the film’s main setting, using a tropical Caribbean resort that incorporates vast jungles, a plethora of hotel rooms, lengthy dark hallways, mudrooms, drunk tanks, bars, mazes, and other territories around the island for a great, fatal game of cat and mouse. Did we forget Coconut Pete playing some catchy, awesome tunes as well?!!? And it’s all done sufficiently well under the vision of Jay Chandrasekhar and his team of wise-cracking loonies who are along for the ride. You have the other Broken Lizard members front and center here such as Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, and Erik Stolhanske who all have great parts to sink their teeth into. Just like Happy Madison, which is Adam Sandler’s production company, Broken Lizard’s films all have the same cast members as the main roles, which is a great catalyst for some fun memories during production. I don’t think Jay Chandrasekhar wouldn’t have it any other way when it comes to him and his best friends feeding off one another during the blocking of scenes in several of his directing efforts. And most importantly, it doesn’t take away from the film. Even if we know these guys all hang out every day producing content for a living.

Club Dread Best Horror Movie You Never Saw

Club Dread is a great slasher which starts off with three Pleasure Island resort workers about to have a menage-a-trois of fun in the jungle, only for it to end in a great chase scene, and the classic blood shedding by the end of it. The island is owned and operated by Coconut Pete, a washed-up musician who tries too hard to be Margarita-Ville maestro, Jimmy Buffet. Coconut Pete is played by the late, legendary Bill Paxton, and when the bodies start hitting the sand, Pete, his bodyguard, and the other resort members try to escape harm’s way throughout the runtime, while also uncovering the killer may be one of those closest to them. Sounds too familiar, does it? That isn’t necessary a bad thing because most slashers share the exact same tropes. By the end of the movie, Club Dread has some truly great moments that keeps the interest high, while also incorporating some great comedic moments that you can rewatch year after year. It’s really a double-whammy of sorts and that is all due to Broke Lizard’s creative team and their comedic talents.

You can’t help but wonder that Broken Lizard did their homework and made Club Dread a full-feature homage to horror classics like Friday the 13th, I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Burning, Predator, The Shining in this flick. Several scenes are literally ripped out from other horror movies before it. In the beginning we have a great chase scene of three resort workers killed incorporating POV to the sequence just like the beginning of Friday the 13th or Wrong Turn. You have Dave the DJ talking about the tale of Machete Phil to several guests around the fire, just like the firepit scene in I Know What You Did Last Summer. The Maze scene screams influence from The Shining as an unlucky man in a pear costume gets it. The thing that works so well with Club Dread is their proficiency in using misdirection and a bunch of red herrings from scene to scene always throwing the viewer off. The actors are shown on camera reacting to someone who’s wronged them during a scene, or those malicious/suspicious looks actors give which can make anyone a suspect in this movie. It will keep you guessing until the suspect shows their true form.

Club Dread has a strong supporting cast most notably from the late Bill Paxton as Coconut Pete. Bill Paxton had some truly iconic roles during his career such as Hudson in Aliens, Dad Meiks in Frailty, Fred Haise in Apollo 13, Morgan Earp in Tombstone, or Simon in True Lies. Here he plays a swashbuckling guitarist that loves to party, get with women, and is a full-on beach bum. He has some good comedic bits in this movie, and you can tell he had a great time soaking up the sun and waves during production, literally. Then there is Brittany Daniel who plays Jenny. Jenny is the aerobics instructor on Paradise Island and falls for the new island masseuse Lars, who may have some skeletons in his closet, or so we think. Then there is also MC Gainey, who plays Coconut Pete’s Bodyguard and loyal friend Hank. Lastly there is Jordan Ladd, who has a good horror foundation to her filmography with films such as Cabin Fever directed by Eli Roth, and Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof.

Club Dread Best Horror Movie You Never Saw

Unfortunately, Club Dread was met with a poor critical reception on Rotten Tomatoes with 30% and a 44% audience score. The movie was labeled as “a slasher parody that is three Screams and three Scary Movies too late.” Club Dread made 7.6 million dollars on a budget of 8.6 million, not a colossal failure but totally missing the mark after Super Troopers became a comedy classic once it hit the DVD shelves. A real shame to say the least, as Club Dread was an enjoyable film, but it did have some competition in the genre during 2004 like Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead, Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead, the long-awaited monster matchp Alien vs Predator, Johnny Depp’s Secret Window, or even M. Night Shayamalan’s The Village.

In the end, Club Dread is not just a good Broken Lizard film, but also a great comedic horror film which paved the way for more horror parodies and horror comedy hybrids for the years to follow. While 2000’s Scary Movie was the trailblazer that made fans clamor for more of these types of horror films, Club Dread still leaves a lasting impression with plenty of laughs, and great misdirects that will throw off even the most seasoned of horror movie fanatics. Bill Paxton gives a fun performance as Coconut Pete, and there are some inventive kills along the way. The setting is also fresh being that it’s on a tropical island, and off the top of my head, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and Piranha 3D are those films that share the same setting. If you haven’t done so, check out Broken Lizard’s Club Dread. It’s a forgotten slasher that still deserves its place in the subgenre. just don’t ask Coconut Pete to sing Margaritaville, he might take it the wrong way.

A couple previous episodes of the Best Horror Movie You Never Saw series can be seen below. To see more, and to check out some of our other shows, head over to the JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channel – and subscribe while you’re there!

Source: Arrow in the Head

About the Author

4 Articles Published

Paul Bookstaber is currently a video editor and writer for Joblo Media Inc, and loves all things movies, especially the horror genre! Paul was also a prior video producer/video editor for the NBA, traveling around the country and attending live broadcasted events for four NBA seasons. Paul is also an avid basketball player, loves spending time with his family, and watching anything and everything that peaks his interest. Paul has been a massive fan of Joblo spanning back to 2006, and is proud to be a part of this tremendous team of film enthusiasts and cinema lovers alike! Some of Paul’s favorite films in no particular order are Heat, Road to Perdition, Collateral, The Batman, The Dark Knight, Seven, Prisoners, Blade Runner 2049, Terminator 2, There Will Be Blood, Last Samurai, Top Gun Maverick, The Prestige, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Halloween 78’ and Whiplash.