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Like the very creatures they celebrate, zombie comedies keep on coming. In the overlong but amusing Dead Before Dawn, a klutzy college student named Casper (Devon Bostick) drops a demon-haunted urn in an occult shop owned by his grandfather (Christopher Lloyd). Casper freaks, but his six friends instantly begin tossing out jokey rules for the demon curse. Most essentially, anyone who looks into their eyes will instantly commit suicide and transform into a half demon, half zombie—a "zemon." Soon, people begin killing themselves (it's funnier than it sounds), only to pop up moments later as zemons. Director April Mullen and screenwriter Tim Doiron, both of whom play members of Casper's posse, do their best work early on, as when an entire football field of players and students transform, en masse, into zemons, or when Casper is forced to stab his newly undead mother with a toilet brush. Dead Before Dawn's best jokes are grounded in the warm, believable camaraderie between Casper and his friends, but Mullen is less confident with crowds. The zemon-horde attack scenes are a visual jumble. The director has talent, but maybe she's secretly weary of the walking dead. As one character says, "Zombies are so overdone."
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