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David Michael Latt
Eriq La Salle,
Alice, 32, a writer recovering from a psychological breakdown retreats to a remote Victorian house to convalesce and focus on finishing her screenplay in time for a fast approaching deadline. Shortly after her arrival, mysterious noises and strange happenings cause her imagination to run wild, sending her on a twisting and terrifying pursuit to find out what is behind the endless mind games. Frightened but intrigued, Alice gathers the courage to go down into the cold, dingy attic where she finds a shoe box filled with mini-dv tapes. The terrifying secret that lies within the tapes will unravel Alice's dark past. Written by
"Deadline" is a very creepy film in many ways. The late Brittany Murphy looks like death, at least partly on purpose as her character, Alice, is very sickly but this is no way to remember her. It was literally like watching a diseased ghost, and that realism was too much for me.
A writer in a remote house with psychological problems hears and sees strange disturbances but is it all in her head or is somebody, or something, trying to kill her? The story has been done many times before, and this wasn't a particularly good rendition of it. That's the main reason why the IMDb rating is so low. The filmmakers even seemed to get confused with the ending. They gave us a resolution but they hadn't quite worked out all the details.
The film itself though, was very well shot. They set-up a creepy atmosphere from the very beginning and never let up. Subtle camera work kept up the same suspense level throughout. This film was made on a low-budget and they made it well.
Recommending this is tricky. I was faithfully terrified - not so much because of the storyline but because of what I was watching. Brittany Murphy was so pallid and anemic, it was scary. And the atmosphere and slow moving camera shots were done so efficiently well, significantly better than most horror-thrillers that I have seen. If you want to be scared from a well-told story, you won't find that here. If you want to be scared from the realism, then you just might want to take a look. If I knew what I was getting myself into, I wouldn't have watched it. And yet, at the same time, I'm glad that I did - I like seeing low-budget independent films made well.
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