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Deadline – 5

Director – Sean McConville

Cast – Brittany Murphy, Thora Birch, Tammy Blanchard, Marc Blucas, Claudia Troll

Release Year – 2009

Reviewed by John of the Dead

I never really had an interest to watch Deadline, although it has been on my queue for quite some time, mostly due to the constant negative remarks I had come across regarding this final film of actress Brittany Murphy. Despite the bad reviews I decided to finally give Deadline a watch due to its recognizable status within the genre, and surprisingly found this film to be much better than expected. This is not a positive film by any means, but in the end Deadline gave me an end-result better than the numerous reviews bashing the film.

Suffering from writer’s block and with a deadline approaching, screenwriter Alice takes a producer’s offer and shuts herself in an old secluded home in hopes of her new environment allowing her to bypass the distractions of her life and focus on her work. Little does she know, the home harbors a terrible secret that slowly transcends her psychological state to full breakdown.

I can understand how horror fans may not enjoy this film, but the horrid reviews it has received on other sites are not as warranted now that I am able to form my own opinion of this piece. My initial thoughts during the first act were “Wow, this doesn’t suck at all.”, due to the engaging material and fair execution as well. I know I mention this often, but it never fails that a film involving someone moving/residing in a new home and coming across the horrors associated with that home will always appeal to me, especially when a supernatural element is thrown in. The horror is subtle at first, however it was quite engaging if you enjoy ghost or haunted house films, and thankfully as the film progressed so did the horror – which you would assume should be the case but I have come across numerous films where the horror stayed minimal throughout, and hes I’m talking about YOU Apollo 18. Sadly, it is when the horror really surfaces that the story-related faults surface as well. As Alice begins to uncover the mystery behind the haunting events taking place we are given very cliched developments that lacked creativity and inspiration, and furthermore consisted of material that I really did not care about. It was unique in a sense, but not my cup of tea, and ultimately brewed into a shocking climax that I saw coming miles away, although it was still a nice twist due to the dread it brought with it.

Writer/director Sean McConville did an OK job executing this piece, giving us fantastic atmosphere and creepy sets that kept me mostly-interested in what was going on thanks to these visuals. His execution of the horror was so-so, with most of the real spook going on early on in the film when we were exposed to minimal paranormal events, and sadly once things really got going the horror itself began to lag. I mentioned that the storyline lost its steam when the bulk of the horror surfaced, and that was also when the horror began to die down as well given the subject matter was not the least big scary and in fact quite silly. Brittany Murphy did well in her final acting role, which sadly had to come via film that could have been much better and lost whatever potential it had when :gasp: the horror kicked in.

Overall, Deadline comes with plenty of creepy atmosphere and sweet sets, and the horror at first is genuine and scary, however once the story kicks in and the real horror erupts we are given nothing but the usual run-of-the-mill DTV crap that left an ever-lasting skidmark as the exodus of Brittany Murphy’s career.

Rating: 5/10

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