Club Dread

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Starring Bill Paxton, Elena Lyons, and Nat Faxon. Rated 18A.

Boy, the movie industry has sure been getting paranoid about the pirating of its product lately. Last week I went to a media screening of Club Dread at Capitol 6 that was attended by a small gaggle of reviewers, and the guy at the door still used a metal detector to check for hidden recording devices. Talk about security overkill! You couldn't unload bootlegs of this asinine flick for free, much less charge money for them.

Club Dread is a horror spoof created by the American comedy troupe Broken Lizard, the same bunch of yahoos responsible for the 2001 highway-patrol farce Super Troopers. The two films were directed by Jay Chandrasekhar, who also cowrote and acted in both. Here he plays Putman, a dreadlocked tennis instructor with an urbane British accent who's part of the staff at a hedonistic island resort owned by a burnt-out Jimmy Buffett wannabe named Coconut Pete (the slumming Bill Paxton). When the brain-dead employees start getting slaughtered by a machete-wielding psycho in a wooden tribal mask and poncho, suspicion falls on everyone. Could it be Lars (cowriter Kevin Heffernan), the romantic masseur who makes bimbos ecstatic just by tweaking their upper lips? Or maybe it's Juan (cowriter Steve Lemme), the randy dive master who served time in a Costa Rican jail for screwing a sheep? And what about Coconut Pete? The resort's big cheese sure gets riled up when anybody mentions his musical rival's hit song "Margaritaville".

Halfway through this painfully inept Scary Movie knockoff, you realize that you could care less who the killer is. The only decent laughs and scares occurred back in the opening scene, and you just want everyone to die quickly so you can get the hell out. Journalistic integrity and fear of the movie editor's wrath were all that kept me there to the bitter end, when the top half of a guy who's been severed at the waist pops out of the sea and gloms onto a shrieking babe. That gory tidbit brought a brief respite from Club Dread's unrelenting tedium but was hardly enough to make me believe this Broken Lizard can ever be fixed.