Saturday, December 19, 2009

Deadline (2009)


Written & Directed by Sean McConville

Alice...Brittany Murphy
Becky...Tammy Blanchard
Lucy...Thora Birch
David...Marc Blucas

Alice, a struggling screenwriter makes a temporary move into a secluded Victorian house. Her reasons are two-fold: one, she has a lot of work to do on her latest script in order to meet her deadline (get it?) and she doesn't want to be distracted; and two, her psychotic, abusive ex has just been released from prison and she understandably doesn't want him to find her. Alice's best friend Becky is fully supportive, and remains her only contact with the outside world via the occasional telephone call.

But not long after moving in, Alice realizes just how creepy this house is. Bathtubs fill up by themselves to the point of overflowing; there are disembodied voices echoing through the hallways; there are even mysterious messages that appear on her laptop computer screen. Are you scared yet?

Doing a little routine investigation, Alice turns up a box full of home movies that belonged to the previous owner, and like a lazy yet technologically sound Jeff Jefferies, she becomes practically obsessed with them. Throughout their running time, she watches as the relationship between David Woods and his wife Lucy degenerates, thanks to his possessiveness, jealousy, overall creepiness...and probably his inability to put down the camera no matter what. As it turns out, Lucy and Alice's past have a thing or two in common.

With Ben on the loose and the violent past shown on these video tapes, we're unsure as to whether the strange events in the house are the work of a crazed ex-lover or a crazed ex-liver. Whether this was the intention of writer-director McConville or the result of the fact that we really stopped paying attention after the first 30 minutes is up to debate.

It's a decently shot and decently directed film, with decent performances and a decent score, but that's about all the compliments I can give. And that's not even much of a compliment! Very little of interest seemed to be going on as this movie chugged along at a salted slug's pace, and I was hard pressed to make it through to the end. By no means is it the worst movie I've ever seen, and it certainly isn't the best. And that's really what kills it: it's mediocre, run-of-the-mill, pretty standard stuff. Not good enough, or bad enough to be enjoyed, and the sloppy, ambiguous ending would have slaughtered it if it hadn't already slaughtered itself. With all the moody atmosphere, the apparent aim of this film towards an audience with estrogen, and the fact that there wasn't a decent male character to be found anywhere, I honestly thought that I had been duped into watching a Made-For-Lifetime movie.

I wasn't.

But I still feel duped. The poster image shows Brittany Murphy in a bathtub, for Pete's sake! And as it turns out, I've seen more nudity on Superbowl halftime shows.

Let's hope that McConville can do better with his upcoming horror film The Car.

View the trailer below!

Not Rated
89 Minutes
United States/Malaysia

As they say in France...Le Yawn.

HorrorBlips: vote it up!


  1. Wow, sounds like it had quite a bit of potential, but then just didn’t come together. I hate it when that happens, but also have gotten used to it. People sometimes think that all you need is a good idea and then everything else will fall into place. If only that were true.

  2. Jonny, your timing here is giving me the chills...eerie.


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