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Just Before Dawn

Just Before Dawn (1981)


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Release Date: Nov 25, 1981 Wide



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Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 2,276

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Movie Info

Director Jeff Lieberman followed his horror-science fiction film Blue Sunshine with this effort, which rehashes many of the themes explored in Wes Craven's seminal horror work The Hills Have Eyes. The plot concerns a teenage land owner who heads for the mountains of Oregon with a deed to his new property and an RV full of young friends only to discover (to their extreme peril) that words on paper mean less than nothing up there... or, in the words of horticulture-loving park ranger George



Jul 26, 2005

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September 19, 2008:
Further Reading: Making Waves as Die Welle Arrives
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All Critics (2) | Fresh (1) | Rotten (1)

The film's lush locations -- the mossy forest with its prehistoric ferns, huge trees, rocky cliffs and misty waterfalls -- add not just production value but a sense of urgency and conviction to the smart script's subtle environmental message...

January 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) exceedingly familiar premise that's been done countless times before...

July 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews | Comment (1)
Reel Film Reviews

Audience Reviews for Just Before Dawn

Just Before Dawn can be seen as an obscured gem in the Slasher genre. Released in the early 1980's, Just Before Dawn barely made a ripple in the thriving Slasher genre of the early 80's. I think this is a great shame because upon watching this film, you realize that Just Before Dawn is not like your typical Slasher film that relies solely on the blood and guts routine. Yes, there's some bloody killings, but it's pretty minimal stuff. What makes this Slasher film better than most is the fact that the director uses creepy atmosphere with a slow buildup to create the tension, and that is the key to why the film works so well. Just Before Dawn limits the violence the violence factors and uses more convincing tactics i order to build the horror in the viewer, that's where the eerie atmosphere, suspense and dark and creepy film score come into play. These are some of the elements that made Halloween such an effective horror film, and director Jeff Lieberman has crafted something that is quite frankly better than many of the big slasher films that came out during this period. Just Before Dawn, along with Halloween proves that you don't need massive amounts of blood and gore to create an effective, and terrifying Slasher film. With the right elements you can create something spooky that will deliver the thrills that horror fans crave dearly. A well crafted atmospheric slasher film that delivers good acting, great scares with good bloody kills, and doesn't try to go overboard either. A must see for Slasher film fans.
October 1, 2011
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

A 1980 Slasher movie that has Drive-In written all over it. 5 young people take a camper into the mountains of California only to stumble upon a man running thru the woods claiming his buddy has been murdered. Does this turn them back, nope, even after park ranger George Kennedy tells them not to go up on the mountain, but one of the young people hold a deed to the property and he is going. So begins a want to be Jason running around the mountain killing people. Some beautiful scenes of 2 beautiful women of the 1980 era, Jamie Rose who we see topless shots of while in the lake and a got more beautiful as she grew older Deborah Benson. Its not the best slasher movie, might have been top notch in 1980 but I can only give it a 3 star rating today.
June 15, 2011
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Wrong Turn without the action, blood and suspense. Good location and decent acting however I found myself bored a lot of the time. Not gory at all nor good slash just the opening death worth watching.
November 23, 2008
John Me

Super Reviewer

One of the many overlooked campers in the woods getting stalked by killer pics was released around the sametime as friday the 13th and in some circles this is considered the first before friday the 13th 2 couples against the sheriffs orders go up into the mountains to look at property left to one of the friends little do they know there is a family of inbreds up there too and they dont take kindly to strangers the usual slasher kills and very little plot keep this at a three star movie if bored and like 80's horror worth a watch
July 26, 2008

Super Reviewer

    1. Roy McLean: What is a demon to you mister?
    2. Ty: Tall... bigger than you. Built, built like that mountain up there. It had Vachel's hat and vest on, it had death in it's eye.
    – Submitted by Kevin R (10 months ago)
    1. Ty: There's been a murder, my nephew Vachel.
    2. Roy McLean: Who did it? Who did it?!
    3. Ty: Demon. Gonna get those kids too.
    4. Roy McLean: You saw those kids?
    5. Ty: They wouldn't listen. I tried to warn them, they wouldn't hear it.
    – Submitted by Kevin R (10 months ago)
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