Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Brittany Murphy, Thora Birch, Marc Blucas, Tammy Blanchard
Directed by Sean McConville
Distributed by First Look Studios
Stop me if you’ve heard this one … a troubled author takes up residence in a secluded sprawling structure as a means to get her work finished. After a bit she is haunted by the spirits of past occupants who will not stop until said author — who’s inadvertently stirred up a supernatural shitstorm — becomes one of them. A bit familiar maybe? It’s impossible not to draw comparisons between The Shining and Deadline, but thankfully they remain purely surface related instances. At its heart Deadline couldn’t be more different a film.
Brittany Murphy stars as Alice, a slightly disturbed writer who after a mental breakdown is looking for a nice quiet place to finish her screenplay. Unluckily for her she finds a vacant Victorian home in which to toil about.
The ghostly things start slowly. A creak here. Some crying there. While exploring the home to find the source of these weird sounds, Alice finds a box full of videotapes that were recorded by the previous occupants of the house (Birch and Blucas). As you can imagine, things aren’t all sunshine and roses on these video documents, and quicker than you can say REDRUM, Alice realizes that the people she’s been watching are actually the same entities that have been haunting her. Or is it all in her mind? We can’t forget about said mental breakdown, can we?
There ultimately lies the problem with Deadline. While it’s a completely serviceable little haunted house flick, it’s also riddled with several twists that do nothing more than turn it into a semi-coherent and convoluted mess by the time the end credits roll. Viewers will likely be left scratching their heads and trying to pinpoint the moment when things flew off the rails into the realm of “Umm … What?” That’s a shame, too, because the first two acts of the film are solid and have some pretty spooky moments.
In terms of which package you should get – the DVD or the Blu-ray – it should be noted that the only differences between the two are picture and sound quality. Yes, the Blu looks and sounds better. That’s a given by now. Beyond that all we get are a few previews and a quick behind-the-scenes featurette. It’s certainly nothing to “shine” home about.
If you are looking for some quick giggles, try watching the movie with the subtitles for the hearing impaired turned on. You can make a hell of a drinking game out of counting the “Suspenseful Drones” and the “Frightening Wooshes“.
Drinking game aside, Deadline is a brisk yet unfortunately forgettable experience. While director Sean McConville definitely exhibits some promise, none of his skills could bring this little film above the point of mediocrity. Now if you’ll excuse me, Lloyd is calling. Something about the makers of this flick needing to be corrected.
2 1/2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Discuss Deadline in our Dread Central forums!