Broken Lizard's last outing, 'Super Troopers', was a genuinely funny movie. It injected a measure of intelligence into juvenile humour, and the result was enjoyable and entertaining movie. This time around the comedy troupe is tackling the horror genre with their spoof/horror movie 'Club Dread'.
The scenic 'Passion Island' is a sex and alcohol driven resort aimed at pleasing a select demographic: Horny teens. It's run by the famous singer Coconut Pete, author of such mega hits as Pina-Colada-Burg. Him and his staff spend a lot of time entertaining and screwing their scantily clad guests. This time around however, things have taken a turn for the worse. A mysterious figure is slowly murdering the staff members one by one. With the phone out, their boats sabotaged, and no way to get off the island, the staff members are desperate to discover which one of their number has a machete addiction. In a perfect world, this would be the cue for copious servings of hilarity and suspense. This not being a perfect world, the movie seems content to just start sucking. In this respect it manages quite admirably.
'Club Dread's biggest problem is that it seems to suffer from a rather severe identity crisis. The movie can't decide if it wants to parody horror flicks, or if it would rather be a horror flick. Instead, it decides to play things down the middle. As one would expect, all this accomplishes is a rather dismal showing in each category.
As far as the parodies go, 'Club Dread' usually aims for a more subtle approach than the Scary Movie franchise. Although the humor is still juvenile, you won't be assaulted with any bodily fluids or sight gags along that line. Most of the jokes are so subtle, the fall flat. The ones that do payoff are really pretty funny, but they're few and far between, not to mention buried in an avalanche of worse jokes. For a few scenes, the movie seems to drop the humorous approach entirely, and it's here where things get confusing.
When the jokes stop the viewer isn't sure what's going on. It's plausible that the humour is so subtle it's nonexistent, or that the movie's actually trying to throw a scare or two at the audience. In the case of the former, that's just shameful. As for the latter, that's even worse. Scenes that are shot with what seems to be a genuine intent to scare the audience are absolutely lifeless and uninspired. You can count on seeing mysterious figures in the woods - as you have hundreds of times before. Maybe this is the point, but 'Club Dread' doesn't attempt to satirize genre flicks, and instead of being amused or scared, more often than not expect to be bored. In an attempt to parody any number of horror cliches, 'Club Dread' just mindlessly adds to them.
The acting is pretty bad all around, but that's to be expected - the script is abysmal, and only the rare piece of witty dialogue manages to break up the monotony. Brittany Daniel is fun to look at, and Director Jay Chandrasekhar does an amusing turn as a rastafarian with an english accent. Bill Paxton probably pulls off the best performance as Coconut Pete, which might even be enjoyable if we weren't forced to hear him sing any number of patently unfunny songs.
At the time of this writing, 'Club Dread' has run for a full week in about 1800 theatres, and has managed to amass less than 4 million dollars. Looks like 'Super Trooper's titanic 6 million dollar mark is still the gold standard. It's a pity 'Club Dread' wasn't able to build on the intelligence of the previous outing from Broken Lizard. They field a lot of talent, but it's just wasted in this travesty of cinema.