31 Horrifying Days- Day 6: Dead Before Dawn (2013)

A bunch of college kids accidentally unleash an evil curse that causes people to kill themselves and turn into Zombie Demons, aka ZEMONS! (Or dombies, Cassie Hack knows)

So, essentially the plot is somewhat Evil Dead: people driven crazy enough by a curse to eat their own hands or play with a hornet’s nest or set themselves on fire. The characters are Breakfast Club style archetypes, something that plenty of horror flicks: from Cabin in the Woods to Detention of the Dead has tried with more or less success. It also adds slapstick humor to horror elements in a way that’s very reminiscent of “Todd and the Book of Pure Evil”.

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The main character, Casper Galloway (Devon Bostick, Art of the Steal) has been afraid of his grandfather’s occult shop since his father died there when he was a child. He agrees to watch the store and when his crush, Charlotte comes in he tries to show off by showing her this cursed urn. Which breaks. The group unknowingly concocts the world’s most inane curse: Anyone they make eye contact with kill themselves and become zombie demons who will try to kill them with hickies and if they French kiss them the zemons will be their slaves, and if they don’t break the curse before dawn they’ll be cursed forever.

With a plot that includes death by zemon hickies, it’s obvious that there are laughs to be had. Some of those come from Casper’s grandfather played by the legendary Christopher Lloyd, who even drops a “Great Scott!” in for good measure.

The group splits up initially with only Casper concerned about the curse they created. But when night falls and the town starts turning demonic, they quickly realize their peril. 4 group members Charlotte, cheerleader BFF Lucy and football players Dazzler and Patrick end up turning both teams. Seth Munday works at a convenience store and runs into a large portion of the town. Becky turns her blind date while Casper accidentally causes his mother’s death. With pandemonium ensuing they are in a race against time to stop the curse. There’s also a couple love connections. 

This film is mostly fluff. The characters act younger then they should and there’s no real uncharted territory being pioneered here. Still, it is enjoyable.

There are some interesting running jokes (hot dog mug, for example). And the plot is simple but cohesive from start to finish. Low on gore, but there’s bucket of blood and creative ways to die.

But is it scary? Nope. Not by a long shot. The set up is amazing. I adore the concept of the characters creating their own curse. But even with the copious amounts of blood, it’s too cartoony to fear.  

The characters aren’t more than tokens. One black character, action chick with bow and arrow, quirky beta male, crush, rival, “slutty” cheerleader, stoner dude… it’s been done. There’s not much depth. Well.. there’s not really any depth. 

2.75/5

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