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Just Before Dawn (1981)

6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 2,185 users  
Reviews: 73 user | 43 critic

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 »

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Just Before Dawn (1981)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Roy McLean
Mike Kellin ...
Ty
...
Jonathan
...
Warren
Deborah Benson ...
...
Daniel
Katie Powell ...
Merry Cat Logan (as Kati Powell)
John Hunsaker ...
Mountain Twins
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:

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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While shooting in the woods one evening the lighting went out without explanation, leaving the cast and crew in total darkness. After several minutes the frustrated producer yelled out, "Let there be light!'--and, sure enough, the lights did indeed come back on. It was never determined why they went out or why they came back on again. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in Wrong Turn (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Heart Of Glass
Written by Deborah 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

 
High Grade Thriller, Funky Ending(No Spoilers so relax)
3 August 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I was lucky enough to see the "Horror Classics" DVD version of this film before it was mysteriously removed from the 4 film DVD and replaced with something else. The picture and sound quality of the film on that edition was a nightmare in itself. Yet, that version is STILL superior to the one with the deluxe DVD treatment. The reason was stated in Brad Fiedel's interview segments on the Special Edition DVD. He had noted what I first found so striking about this film. This being the use of music at moments of inactivity in the film, but leaving the moments of activity in silence, thus giving the horror scenes a stronger feel. The problem with this reissue is it carries the extra film score used to fill in these intentional gaps in score. Fiedel complained of this and made it clear that the filler music was not his. The music actually sounded a lot like Howard Shore's work for Videodrome. Sad for me that I am also a major fan of that film and have to associate the two.

The film itself managed to add some interesting realistic elements to the genre horror film. A group of friends go up on a mountain one of them inherited. On the mountain they are confronted with a family with a nightmarish secret. The movie moves along at a great pace. In fact every time I have seen it, I still find myself shocked to see 45 minutes had passed before things started really going wrong for the campers.

While the Horror Classics version is filled with many gaps, the fact that there is no score accompanying the horror scenes is what makes this film intelligent and even superior to most slasher films I have ever seen. The Director Jeff Lieberman had made some unique horror films previous to this one making this one the most mainstream and yet, very different to the mainstream at the same time. It is a good fun film with surprising acting performances to boot. The new spiffed up DVD version is worth a rent, the now collectors item Horror Classics version, now OOP is worth the hunt.


6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Just Before Dawn To Blu-Ray....FINALLY!!! ccc62371
WHY DID I BUY THIS CRAP!!!!! pernille8686
A German DVD from this movie is UNCENSORED! hodderschick
Please Dont Say to me... startofend
Where's the DVD? BillyBC
oh my god, i just sh!t myself! pallisrs
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