It’s been said no one purposely sets out to make a bad movie. But in the case of the grade-Z horror comedy “Dead Before Dawn 3D,” that assertion is up for debate. Directed with sledgehammer finesse by April Mullen from Tim Doiron’s cartoonish script (they also produced and act in it), this Canadian import is so shrieky and broad at times it makes the “Scary Movie” spoofs look positively brainy.
The story, such as it is, involves a jumpy college milquetoast subtly named Casper (Devon Bostick) who’s briefly left in charge of his grandpa’s (Christopher Lloyd) occult shop only to accidentally unleash an evil spirit “living” there inside a creepy urn. Casper and his friends, a goofy array of campus types, now have till dawn to reverse the attendant curse, which transforms anyone these kids look at into deadly “zemons” (zombie demons, natch).
So, off the Casper crew goes in a junky Winnebago, struggling to stay “human” as they stop at their college and the local cemetery in a frantic stab at fixing the whole nonsensical mess. Hilarity does not ensue.
The game cast commits to the lame-o material but it’s a losing battle from the jump. There are zero thrills — 3-D or otherwise — and, for all the nutty mayhem, the pacing drags. As Christopher Lloyd, quoting his Doc Brown from “Back to the Future,” says here, “Great Scott!” Indeed.
“Dead Before Dawn 3D”
MPAA rating: R for violence and some sexual references
Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes
Playing: TCL Chinese Theatre 6, Hollywood. Also on VOD