Club Dread (2004) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Two thumbs down. We agreed across the board on this one. Not funny, not scary, but with some decent nudity and a kinda good Jimmy Buffett parody from Bill Paxton.

Scoop's notes in white:

A laid-back singer named Coconut Pete runs his own island version of Club Med off the coast of Costa Rica, and somebody is killing all his staff. There are several red herring sub-plots in which various people seem in turn to be the killer, then there are several gruesome and kinda funny deaths, and then somebody with no motivation confesses. It turns out that all the people who had a motive were sane people like the rest of us, people who may have had jealousies and problems, but would not act violently on those feelings. The actual killer, on the other hand, was just plain nuts. I think it was supposed to be funny that the only guy with no motivation turned out to be the killer. If it was supposed to be, it missed the mark.

Like most of the rest of the jokes in the film.

In fact, some of this film is so unfunny as to be downright annoying, but that isn't what kept the film from being successful. The problem is that the plot took itself seriously. Club Dread is the follow-up effort from the comedy troupe that created Super Troopers.  They are talented at lowbrow comedy. They should have gone for Scary Movie - a wacky genre parody making fun of slasher movies. Instead they went for Scream - an attempt to make a real slasher movie, with comedy layered in. By working too hard on the scares and gore, they got distracted from the strengths of the writers/performers who are, underneath their mandatory new millennium naughty sex talk, traditional genre satirists like the cast of SCTV, and not scare-and-gore guys like Tobe Hooper.

Bill Paxton is pretty funny as Coconut Pete, a fictional version of Jimmy Buffett. He talks like Buffett, sings like him, and lives like him. His album titles are all slight twists on Buffett album titles, although ol' Pete doesn't remember making most of them because, hey, those were the 70s, dude. Pete is a laid-back guy unless you mention the one thing he hates - the REAL Jimmy Buffett, who stole Pete's best song PinaColadaBurg, changed it a little, and made it famous as Margaritaville.

Club Dread was a miserable failure at the box office, capping off below five million dollars, despite appearing on 1800 screens across the country. The reviews were only slightly more enthusiastic than the film audiences, with only 34% of the reviewers taking a positive view of the film. While I don't think it's a good film, and it's not worth going out of your way to see, I found it an easy enough watch. Paxton is good; there are lots of jokes; and the nudity is good, especially a gymnastic scene performed by the diminutive Jordan Ladd (Cheryl's daughter) and a body double.


Breasts from Jordan Ladd, Tanja Reichert, and Elena Lyons. (And Jordan Ladd's gymnastic body double.)

There is some crowd nudity in the final scene at the club (male buns and female breasts).

DVD info from Amazon

  • Two commentary tracks - between the two, all the Broken Lizard guys have their say.

  • Widescreen and full screen (pan 'n scan) versions.


Tuna's notes in yellow:

Club Dread is supposed to be a comedy send-up in the 70s style of slasher films by the comedy troop Broken Lizard. It takes place on a tropical island in Costa Rica (actually shot in Mexico) at a young swingers' resort run by a Jimmy Buffet character, called Coconut Pete, and played by Bill Paxton. Somebody starts slashing the staff with a machete, even before the credits. So, everyone has to figure out whodunnit, stay alive, and hide the problems from the guests.

I watched the entire film without so much as a chuckle, and there wasn't a single startle moment in the entire film.  I listened to one of the commentaries, and even after the director pointed out the funny parts, I still found nothing to laugh at. Roger Ebert awarded 2 1/2 stars. My guess is that he is a Jimmy Buffett fan, because Paxton and the Buffett parody was the most entertaining aspect of the film.

The Critics Vote ...

  • Roger Ebert 2.5/4.

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 5.7/10. Yahoo voters call it a C+
  • Box Office Mojo. It could not have been much worse. $5 million gross, despite a moderately wide roll-out.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, Scoop says, "This is a C-. This film is not worth going out of your way to see except for Jordan Ladd's marvelous nude scene, but is an OK movie if you simply want to turn off your brain and watch some dumb, harmless, sleazy fun. It is not a good horror movie, and it is not a good comedy, but it has some pleasurable elements of each." Tuna says, "This is a C-. It is technically competent but lacks both sufficient humor and fright to work as either a comedy or a slasher."

Return to the Movie House home page