“They were warned, but they did not understand the warning. They came to the mountain for adventure and escape – what they found was a trial which only the strongest could survive.”
Just Before Dawn is an impressive backwoods slasher from 1981 with oodles of atmosphere, an utterly fantastic soundtrack with incredible use of sound effects (as in, the woods, crickets, etc.) and a few very tense scenes. Coupled with what might be one of the best villain kills by a Final Girl I’ve ever seen on celluloid, Just Before Dawn really shines as an underrated gem.
This trailer might show a bit too much from the film, but it does capture the great scenery and give some hints of the carnage to come (like that precarious looking rope bridge,for instance). Director Jeff Lieberman is certainly no stranger to the dirt and grime seen on display here (see also: killer worm flick Squirm), and he wrings as much as he can out of the fairly well-worn set up (at least by more modern standards). Genre mainstay George Kennedy even shows up, so what are you waiting for? Just Before Dawn is ripe for re-discovery.