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Somewhere in backwoods, USA: Ty (Mike Kellin) and Vachel (Charles
Bartlett) go hunting ... when Vachel is suddenly brutally slaughtered by
someone, and Ty almost loses his mind over it while running for his life.
At the same time, a quintet of teens - the wholesome couple Conny
(Deborah Benson) and Warren (Gregg Henry), the sex-starved couple Megan
(Jamie Rose) and Jonathan (Chris Lemmon), and of course Daniel (Ralph
Seymour), the guy with the glasses - head to backwoods USA, to exactly the
spot where Vachel was killed to do some camping, and neither the warnings
of the ranger (George Kennedy) nor of Ty, whom they think to be a madman,
can keep them from going there. even when they are threatened by your
local hillbilly (Hap Oslund) with his gun they are undaunted ... and our
teens even catch the eye of your hillbilly's daughter Merry Kat (Katie
Powell), who especially falls for Jonathan.
Then though, the killings start, and before you know it, Megan,
Jonathan and Daniel are all dead, and Conny and Warren slowly start to
panic - especially when the corpse of Jonathan virtually falls on them
during a scene of (almost) lovemaking beneath a waterfall. Finally, the
killer, a big hillbilly (John Hunsaker) closes in on them for the kill ...
when the cavalry arrives in the person of the ranger, who has been alarmed
by Ty and who shoots big hillbilly dead, just like that.
The end ?
Not yet, because unbeknowest to anybody (but the audience), big
hillbilly had a twin brother and as soon as the ranger with his mighty
rifle has gone, the brother closes in for the kill, renders Warren
helpless by breaking his leg and then prepares to take care of Conny - but
Conny isn't quite as helpless as one would think, and eventually, she gets
hold of brother hillbilly's knife and stabs him - repeatedly and
Basically, Just Before Dawn is your typical teen slasher, this
time set in backwoods, USA. And concerning slashers movies as such, the
film is no better or worse than your standard production - which isn't
saying much since the quality standards of the slasher genre are rather
low - and consequently, Just Before Dawn isn't really what you would call
a good film, not by a long shot. Still, as a mindless slasher it
might be ok - even if that's not saying much.