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Club Dread (2004) – DVD Review

Club Dread DVD cover art


Written by: Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Hefferman, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter & Erik Stolhanske
Directed by: Jay Chandrasekhar
Starring: Bill Paxton, Brittany Daniel, Jordan Ladd, Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Hefferman, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske


  1. Running audio commentary by director/writer/actor Chandrasekhar and writer/actor Stolhanske
  2. Running audio commentary by actor/writers Hefferman, Lemme & Soter

Released by: Fox
Region: 1
Rating: R
Anamorphic: Yes

My Advice: Don’t bother.

[ad#longpost]The place to vacation for hormonally challenged twenty-somethings is Coconut Pete’s Pleasure Island. Coconut Pete (Paxton), a Jimmy Buffet knockoff, has created an island getaway awash in sun, spirits, and sex off the coast of Costa Rica. Guests are attended to by an attentive fun-loving staff. Well, they would be if a machete-wielding maniac weren’t killing them. With no boats and no communications, the staff is busier at making accusations than making drinks. Could it the new masseuse Lars (Hefferman) with his unhealthy obsession with Coconut Pete, or aerobics instructor Jenny (Daniel) whose competition keeps dying off, or the permanently stoned DJ Dave (Soter) who is Coconut Pete’s nephew and only heir? Maybe it’s the mysterious guest Penelope (Ladd) who developed an intense passion for pool boy Juan (Lemme); maybe Juan is the killer because of his own skeletons in the closet, maybe it’s dreadlocked tennis pro Putman (Chandrasekhar) because he’s British and uptight. With the blood flowing freer than the margaritas and more bodies ending up dead than in bed, maybe they’ll rename this place Club Dread.

The big mystery in this movie is not who the killer is, but where the laughs or scares are. One of the big running gags in the movie is that Lars, the masseuse, is so skilled in the use of pressure points on the body that people either pee themselves or orgasm when he touches them. Gag, indeed. Now I have no problem with humor that focuses on the crotch or the ass, but the jokes here are neither that good nor even that extreme. And they never capitalize on the opportunities they have. They could have made much more of Coconut Pete’s relentless advocacy of the laid-back beach bum lifestyle all the while trying to capitalizing on his reputation for as much money as he can. At least the deaths should have been funny. But no, they were neither funny nor scary. Just gory.

Obviously these guys do not know the meaning of restraint. The near constant use of fake outs, where it looks like the killer is about to kill someone and it turns out to be a harmless cat or friend, gets very old very fast. Instead of creating tension and surprise, it tramples it. Also, the movie has more red herrings in it than a Scandinavian fishing fleet, which totally defeats the purpose of creating mystery and challenging the audience’s preconceptions. As a horror/comedy, this movie fails on both counts. The acting is average since the actors don’t have much to work with. Their roles are caricatures, not characters. Even Bill Paxton looks like he’s on autopilot. This whole movie seems like it’s on autopilot with its pedestrian direction and lack of energy. It’s as if the film had one toke too many, dude.

Club Dread

The only feature on the disc is two commentary tracks. It’s split between the members of Broken Lizard, the alleged comedy troupe that’s behind all this. While the commentary with the director talks more about the problems with capturing the light and the commentary with the actors mentions the problem of having sugary fake blood in a tropical climate, most of the tracks aren’t very illuminating. We do learn that Bill Paxton primarily took the role so he could sing. Well I guess he had to do something until the next James Cameron epic. Also, the Broken Lizard people showed this to Jimmy Buffet who they parody with Coconut Pete and he liked it. I think this is proof positive that Buffet has been in Margaritaville for too long.

Club Dread

I’m of the opinion that Club Dread was made as an excuse so the Broken Lizard people could have a paid tropical vacation. It certainly wasn’t to make a good movie. Avoid at all costs.

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