Written and Directed By: Sean McConville
Starring: Brittany Murphy, Thora Birch, Marc Blucas
Deadline, a fitting end to a promising career or just bitter irony? Honestly, it’s a little of both.
Alice Evans (Brittany Murphy) is a writer working on a deadline who has obviously been through a very rough patch in her life. She goes away to a secluded house in the country to work on a script and to just spend some time alone. But after she finds hidden video tapes of Lucy (Thora Birch) and Mark (Marc Blucas) she uncovers a deadly secret. Will she survive long enough to meet her Deadline? I know that was heavy handed and over the top but in the spirit of this movie it is appropriate.
I like mysteries. I like thrillers. I like Brittany Murphy. I don’t like retreads of tired old plots and movies that think they’re being clever but are really just being cliché. Let’s go down the list of indie movie clichés. Video camera? Check. Long scenes with no dialogue to establish a sense of isolation? Check. Vivid dreams that are played to be reality until the character suddenly wakes up with a fright? Check. “Found” footage of a tragedy? Check. A psychotic ex-boyfriend that the main character is trying to escape? Check. A lesbian tryst? Check. When did the lonely house in the country become such an overused movie trope? And don’t think that showing a character starring blankly at a crib is a subtle way to suggest she lost a child. That is brow beating at its worst.
And that’s just the first twenty minutes of the movie. Brittany Murphy was a better actress than this movie. This is the second movie to be released this year staring Murphy about a lonely house in the country with an ominous secret. Can you say typecasting? It’s a shame that a young actress with her talent was relegated to made for television and straight to dvd movies.
But enough about her, Deadline is a boring mess of a movie. A good portion of it is told through video flashbacks of found footage that break perspective from first to third person without rhyme or reason and become tedious to watch. Quite honestly a good portion of this movie makes no sense what so ever. Sean McConville should have placed this film into another director’s hands and allowed a couple of re-writes to smooth this script into something cohesive.
This is the perfect example of why blu ray is not for everyone and not every movie needs a blu ray release. The picture is presented in 1.85 aspect widescreen and looks about as good as it can.
Blu-Ray: This is a low budget film that looks slightly better with the HD upgrade but there’s still plenty of grain and soft contrast to make the film still look like what it is….
5.1 Dolby Digital surround. The audio is clear but why bother paying attention to what’s being said? None of it makes any sense.
Blu-Ray: The surround sound is basic but the necessary stingers are all loud and clear. It’s not a bad presentation but it’s nothing to write home about either.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
Both the packaging and the special features are lacking. You get a basic clamshell case for storage and a ten minute behind the scenes featurette that is in love with itself. Every interview is an exercise in self aggrandizing and “look at how cool I am.” I’m beginning to think that some dvds should not offer special features.
Hopefully one of the five movies listed on Brittany Murphy’s imdb page as being in post production will remind the world what a talent we lost. Deadline is eighty-nine minutes of your life you’ll never get back. I believe Ms. Murphy would have wanted you to have them.
Overall (Not an Average) 2/10
The Movie 2/10
The Video 5/10
The Audio 5/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 1/10
Overall (Not an Average) 2/10