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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 up 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.
Deadline is written and directed by Sean McConville. It stars Brittany Murphy, Thora Birch and Marc Blucas. Music is by Carlos José Alvarez and cinematography by Ross Richardson.
Recovering from a psychological breakdown and required to finish a screenplay for a deadline, writer Alice Evans (Murphy) retreats to a remote Victorian house. Once there, though, mysterious goings on begin to accompany her. Undetered, Alice begins to unravel the terrible secrets of the house. But at what cost?
One of the last films made by Brittany Murphy before her sad and untimely death, Deadline (poor title) is mostly friendless in the world of the haunted house sub-genre. Yet in spite of its flaws and tired old set up of premise, it's hardly one of the worst of its kind. It's all very low key and thriving on moody mystery atmosphere, both things which are aided by better than average music scoring and photography. Performances by the cast, in what is purely a six character piece, are very committed, managing to make the thin script more palatable. There's a couple of jolts placed within, while the scenes involving Birch and a clearly unhinged Blucas are genuinely creepy.
Its reputation tells us that it's just too low key for some, and for sure it brings nothing new at all to a well populated formula. While the outcome is infuriating and has proved to be unforgivable for many a sub-genre fan. But with expectations set at low this rounds out as a decent enough time filler for those who like atmosphere laden haunted house pictures. 6/10
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