6.4/10
3,681
78 user 54 critic

Just Before Dawn (1981)

Five campers arrive in the mountains to examine some property they have bought, but are warned by the forest ranger Roy McLean that a huge machete-wielding maniac has been terrorising the ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Gregg Irving) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

With Prime Video

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Intruder (1989)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The overnight stock crew of a local supermarket find themselves being stalked and slashed by a mysterious maniac.

Director: Scott Spiegel
Stars: Elizabeth Cox, Renée Estevez, Dan Hicks
The Prowler (1981)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

An unknown killer, clad in World War II U.S. Army fatigues, stalks a small New Jersey town bent on reliving a 35 year-old double murder by focusing on a group of college kids holding an annual Spring Dance.

Director: Joseph Zito
Stars: Vicky Dawson, Christopher Goutman, Lawrence Tierney
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

After a seemingly innocent prank goes horribly wrong, a group of sorority sisters are stalked and murdered one by one in their sorority house while throwing a party to celebrate their graduation.

Director: Mark Rosman
Stars: Kate McNeil, Eileen Davidson, Janis Ward
The Burning (1981)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A former summer camp caretaker, horribly burned from a prank gone wrong, lurks around an upstate New York summer camp bent on killing the teenagers responsible for his disfigurement.

Director: Tony Maylam
Stars: Brian Matthews, Leah Ayres, Brian Backer
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

At the snobby Crawford Academy, Virginia's group of friends start to go missing years after horrible events that happened to her as a child around her birthday.

Director: J. Lee Thompson
Stars: Melissa Sue Anderson, Glenn Ford, Lawrence Dane
Terror Train (1980)
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A masked killer targets six college kids responsible for a prank gone wrong three years earlier and who are currently throwing a large New Year's Eve costume party aboard a moving train.

Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Stars: Ben Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Hart Bochner
Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A high school student's slumber party turns terrifying as an escaped mental patient with a drill decides to crash the party.

Director: Amy Holden Jones
Stars: Michelle Michaels, Robin Stille, Michael Villella
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A quartet of murderous psychopaths break out of a mental hospital during a power blackout and lay siege to their doctor's house.

Director: Jack Sholder
Stars: Jack Palance, Donald Pleasence, Martin Landau
Curtains (1983)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Six young actresses auditioning for a movie role at a remote mansion are targeted by a mysterious masked murderer.

Director: Richard Ciupka
Stars: John Vernon, Samantha Eggar, Linda Thorson
StageFright (1987)
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A group of stage actors lock themselves in the theater for a rehearsal of their upcoming musical production, unaware that an escaped psychopath has sneaked into the theater with them.

Director: Michele Soavi
Stars: David Brandon, Barbara Cupisti, Domenico Fiore
Pieces (1982)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Young co-eds are being dismembered by a mysterious murderer on a college campus. The killer is attempting to put together a human jigsaw puzzle made from body parts.

Director: Juan Piquer Simón
Stars: Christopher George, Lynda Day George, Frank Braña
Night School (1981)
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

Who's been decapitating the innocent girls at a local night school? The police are baffled.

Director: Ken Hughes
Stars: Leonard Mann, Rachel Ward, Drew Snyder
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Roy McLean
...
Ty
...
Jonathan
...
Warren
...
...
Daniel
Katie Powell ...
Merry Cat Logan (as Kati Powell)
...
Charles Bartlett ...
Vachel
...
Megan
Hap Oslund ...
Pa Logan
Barbara Spencer ...
Ma Logan
Edit

Storyline

Five campers arrive in the mountains to examine some property they have bought, but are warned by the forest ranger Roy McLean that a huge machete-wielding maniac has been terrorising the area. Ignoring the warnings, they set up camp, and start disappearing one by one. If that sounds too run-of-the-mill, there's a genuinely shocking plot twist half-way through... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Will Anyone Survive Those Hours Just Before Dawn? See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 October 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Justo Antes De Amanecer  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended cut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Jeff Lieberman cites Deliverance (1972) as the film's primary influence. See more »

Goofs

At 50:19, When Daniel approaches the cemetery to take pictures a boom mic is visible for a few seconds in the top left of the screen before it is realized and then pulled out of the frame. See more »

Quotes

Warren: There's nothing out there but God's little creatures, more scared of you than you are of them.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Horror Business (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Heart Of Glass
Written by Debbie Harry and Chris Stein
Performed by Blondie
©(1979) Courtesy of Chrysalis Records, A Division of EMI
Under License from EMI-Capitol Music Special Markets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Great Backwoods slasher flick. A classic in all respects.
8 November 2007 | by (kentucky) – See all my reviews

Just Before Dawn came out during the golden days of the slasher film. The backwoods slasher pretty much started with films like Friday the 13th, The Burning, and Madman. Just Before Dawn is a step ahead of the typical backwoods slasher flick. The cinematography is gorgeous. The acting is top notch. The heroine of the film is not your typical 'final girl'.

Constance is a 'woods' girl, but when it comes down to the primal instinct of survival, she's a step behind. Not until it comes to saving the life of her and her boyfriend, does the primal notion of survival kick in. There's a subtle transition that gradually focuses on the final girls hidden sexuality - coinciding that alongside her will to survive.

Just Before Dawn isn't for everyone, but for the slasher fan, it's as close to perfect as you can get. The killer(s) are very menacing - Almost like it's a game to maim and murder anyone who crosses their territory. The end scene is a bit off kilter. For the first time viewer, it may be a little shocking. I'd recommend this to anyone who's a fan of the backwoods slasher. Even non-slasher fans will find something to like about it. The setting is eerie and makes one feel uneasy. The death sequences aren't particularly gory, but I'm not sure the film needed gore. See it!


13 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?