DEADLINE (2009)

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Deadline Cover I am sure you understand that it is very difficult to write at times. You need peace. You need the appropriate tools. You need a relaxing environment. And you need to make sure that a despondent spirit does not try to haunt you too. True. Just ask, Director: Sean McConville; and Actors: Brittany Murphy, Thora Birch, and Tammy Blanchard. But only in 2009, and for about 90-minutes.


Deadline


THE STORY:
Writer, Alice Evans (Brittany Murphy), thought that it would be a nice idea if her good friend, Rebecca (Tammy Blanchard), would drop her off at an old Victorian house she has rented for a week, so she could do some writing in relative solitude.

Well, recently Alice has had a very hard time leaving her abusive boyfriend, Ben, and she does have a deadline to meet.

Therefore, this seems like the perfect plan, huh? Yes. At first it does. Everything appears to be going to just right for Alice within this plush mahogany abode. She unpacks her stuff. She does a spot of writing. And she even touches base with Rebecca when she can, just so she knows that everything's going fine with at her end.

However, as time ticks on, I am afraid to say that Alice starts to get frustrated, when she begins to notice some very strange things hovering around her general lo-cal. A door slamming. A bath overflowing. And a voice speaking within her mind too.

So in the vain effort to temper her own resolve, Alice watches a video tape she has found in this house belonging to the previous tenants, David and Lucy Woods (Marc Blucas and Thora Birch).

It is a nice idea, isn't it? Watching a young couple living together, just like how Alice is living with Rebecca.

No. Afraid not. Because the more things spook Alice, and the more that she goes though David and Lucy's personal tape's, she gets a visual impression of what is happening to her and what has happened to the Woods are not so unfamiliar.

David gets jealous of Lucy going out. Alice's computer screen seems to melt. David clings onto Lucy more so when she is pregnant. Alice takes her medication. David and Lucy have a fight because of his own insecurities. Alice is haunted by a vision of a dead Lucy. David. Lucy. Alice. David. Lucy. Alice.

Help!

Though I suppose that is why what next transpires begins when Alice calls Rebecca for some information about the Woods. As deaths are caught on tape - victims turn up in a right state - killers take a very long fall - and nothing is what it seems at all.




THE REVIEW:
OK now. Should I be very kind of 'Deadline' because it was one of Brittany Murphy's last movies? Or should I tell you what I really think about it instead? Hmmm. I know what I'd do. I compromise. And have a nice game of advantage / disadvantage.


Brittany Murphy with camera in Deadline


ADVANTAGE:
(1) Now the best thing about this flick is how this story resolves itself. Well, it is one of those plot-twists at the end of a movie, which does make a lot of sense with the benefit of hindsight. It's there on show throughout this picture; it just that it becomes more apparent once the end-credits role. (2) I enjoyed the device of watching 'The Woods' video's in stages, because it did add a very incremental and suspenseful tone once this plot kicked into gear. (3) Listen, I am not just saying this because she is dead, but Brittany does a really great job at playing this wiped-out and sullen writer. Truthfully, at times she looks just so sick, that I wanted to put my arms around her and give her a big hug. Also, a big shout-out goes to the others in the cast as well. Tammy plays 'mumsy' very well. Thora has a very pleasant and understated way about her performance. And Marc is not just a pretty boy, he can really act too.

DISADVANTAGE:
(1) This film starts off on a really-really-really slow pace, and for the first twenty minutes or so, you are wondering to yourself if this flick has developed into a silent movie. Honestly, I would say that hardly that much dialogue is spoken as soon as Brittany's character enters the house, except for a few mumbled conversations here and there. (2) Although by in large I did enjoy 'The Woods' video inserts, I would have much preferred it if it was always from 'their camera's' point of view. You see, at times 'the movie camera's' perspective did somewhat make this alternate element not so alternate. This is a slight nag though. (3) One of the main flaws with this film is that it can be slightly confusing on occasion. Time becomes fractured. Plot-lines become merged. And certain conversations are too hushed to become legible.


Brittany Murphy in Deadline


OK, so that's three a piece - yeah - sound's about right. Just like these relatable filmic facts: (1) This film premiered between the beginning of October and the beginning of December, 2009, in the United Kingdom and the United States respectively. Britney died on the 20th December of the same year. (2) Actress, Tammy Blanchard, has played Gypsy Rose Lee on stage and Judy Garland on television. (3) Thora Bitch starred in television commercials for 'Burger King', 'Quaker Oats', 'Strip Gum', and 'California Raisins'. (4) Brittany Murphy was half Italian, a quarter Irish and a quarter Eastern European. (5) Director, Sean McConville, was a model-maker on the James Bond film 'Golden Eye', a special effect technician on 'Star Wars Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace', and he worked on numerous creative filmic projects since 1995. (6) Marc Blucas is a basketball coach for a team of girls from a private Catholic high school based in Los Angeles, California. (7) Tammy called her daughter 'Ava' after Ava Gardner. (8) Thora has reached a Blue Belt in Karate. (9) The film poster was recalled after Brittany's death, because it depicted her character looking at a dead body lying in the bathtub.


Brittany Murphy Last Film


Overall, 'Deadline' is a so-so film really. I suppose you have to be in a very relaxed mood to watch it. But not too relaxed, or your might end up sleeping in the first twenty minutes. Moreover, it is very artistically directed, and needs to be watched more than once to be truly appreciated I think.

Nice film - good in places - bad in others.

THE RATING: B-