When Warren inherits some land deep in some mountain woods, he and his friends decide to go camping there to check it out. Ignoring the warnings from the locals that they should stay out of those woods, they continue along. As they begin to enjoy their weekend of camping, their partying soon becomes a nightmare when some deranged mountain men decide to kill them off one by one.
Just Before Dawn opens with an uncle and nephew going hunting. They are in an abandoned old church when the nephew is attacked and killed by a madman. The uncle manages to escape. Meanwhile, a group of kids, one of which has just inherited some land on this mountain for himself, are on their way to a camping trip. They stop and run into a ranger who warns them to stay out of the woods. The kids do not listen and they continue on. Soon, they run into the uncle that has just barely escaped from the mountain men. The uncle tells them that demons are in these woods and they must leave now and take him back out of these woods. They ignore his warning and just leave him with some food. As they start to drive off, the uncle sees one of the mountain men jump on the back of the kid’s Winnebago. Once at the camp ground, the kids start to unpack. A few others decide to go checking the place out. When they do not return, things start to get ugly for the remaining kids as the mountain men close in on the few survivors.
I have been searching for Just Before Dawn for over a year it seems. I had been checking out ebay non-stop and never being able to win it. The local video stores around here did not carry it, and it seemed as if it was an impossible film to find. Finally, I managed to get my hands on a copy. It was an official DVD release that had horrible quality, and unfortunately was the cut version. At least I managed to see this movie. The only scene that wasn’t cut was the opening scene where the nephew is killed by a machete. Unfortunately, the rest of the death scenes are off screen, except for the guy who gets a machete through the chest. Since this film is supposed to be a gory film, I knew this had to be an edited version.
Although the film was heavily cut and the quality was worse than an old VHS, I was still pleased to finally get to view this film. This film reminded me a bit of The Hills Have Eyes; however, Just Before Dawn still a completely different film. For those who have seen the 2003 film, Wrong Turn, you will see quite a number of similarities with that and Just Before Dawn. Just Before Dawn even has a scene where someone is climbing up a cliff and runs into a mountain man on the top, much like in the opening scene of Wrong Turn. The film doesn’t move at an extremely fast pace, however it doesn’t move slowly either. It moves fast enough to keep your attention while still try and build up suspense. I just wish I could have found an uncut version. Hopefully a DVD release will come soon with good quality and it’ll be uncut. Overall, if you’re a fan of horror films, definitely check out Just Before Dawn. I give this movie a 7 out of 10.