Forget about Jason and his mother for "Just Before Dawn" is a backwoods slasher that came out the same year as "Friday The 13th" and is a better film. One of the reasons "Just Before Dawn" never garnered the fan base that the "Friday the 13th" series has is, sadly, mostly due to the lack of a hockey mask or, rather, the backstory for the villain who would later don one. It's a shame because "Just Before Dawn" has the mood and location that is essential for this sub-genre of slashers, to say nothing of the unforgettable campfire/fistful finale and the brutal murder sequences. Every cliche associated with backwoods slashers is present; however one only has to look at the year-of-release to dismiss these annoyance (the eccentric warnings from rednecks about the camper's upcoming deaths; characters that dance the idiotic with death) and sit back with a red-tipped paper or box of cold ones and enjoy - no cerebral wiring necessary.
"Just Before Dawn" is, at its best, a fun, if at times slow-burning, summer-slasher from the 1980's that isn't the classic "The Burning" is but is exceptional at what it set out to do while never ripping off "Bay of Blood" once.
Track this one down before summer's end.