6.4/10
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77 user 53 critic

Just Before Dawn (1981)

Five campers are stalked and killed in the mountains after traveling there to examine property they had purchased.

Director:

Writers:

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

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

The nightmare has begun -- See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to composer Brad Fiedel, many of the ominous sounds in the music score were actually electronically-altered audio clips of himself vocalizing droning noises. 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

[after Warren and Jonathan scare the group]
Daniel: I knew it was you guys all along.
Jonathan: Oh come on Dan you were more freaked out than the girls.
Daniel: I just wasn't sure it was you.
Jonathan: So you peed your pants to play it safe, huh?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Slice and Dice: The Slasher Film Forever (2012) 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 »

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User Reviews

 
My favourite Jeff Lieberman film.
23 February 2013 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Liebermans' entry in the original slasher craze is definitely more well made and intelligent than some. In fact, in making it he wasn't so much inspired by "Friday the 13th" as he was "Deliverance". He and his crew make this a powerfully atmospheric outing, utilizing the real Oregon woods to great effect, and turn it into a fun survival-of-the-fittest yarn, even developing the two main characters in interesting ways. Five young adults venture into the Oregonian mountains to do some camping and check out the local land that one of them has supposedly inherited. Before long they begin to be victimized by a stealthy, heavyset psychopath. Slasher movie fanatics who watch this sort of thing for gore and/or nudity will be quite disappointed with Liebermans' film, as it's clear he has a different agenda going on. That's not to say, of course, that the women aren't attractive, or that there isn't some effective nastiness to be enjoyed. But what the director really wants to convey is the need to have a respect for nature - because it CAN kick your ass if you're not prepared. He begins with an intense opening set piece and generates some truly unnerving suspense; this is the kind of film that can have a viewer literally on the edge of their seat. It's also stylishly done; take note of one scene transition in particular. Brad Fiedel, who a few years later gained his fame with his theme for "The Terminator", supplies a music score that is chilling in its subtlety. (The whistling is a really nice touch.) The better than usual cast features some very familiar actors: Gregg Henry, Ralph Seymour, Jamie Rose, Mike Kellin, Chris Lemmon (Jacks' son), and George Kennedy as the veteran forest ranger who's aware that the area is fraught with danger. The gorgeous Deborah Benson, who really should have been able to enjoy a much more visible career, is a standout as the female lead who starts out as a rather tentative character, starts to cut loose, and ultimately finds her inner strength. John Hunsaker is extremely creepy as the killer. There's one well executed plot twist along the way, and at the end an innovative and memorable way of dispatching our villain. The pacing is deliberate, the camera-work and cinematography excellent, and the scenery beautiful, in what has to be one of the more unheralded horror films of its time. It comes highly recommended. Eight out of 10.


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Just Before Dawn To Blu-Ray....FINALLY!!! ccc62371
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