Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Deadline (2009)

logoDirector: Sean McConville

Writer: Sean McConville (Screenplay)

Starring: Brittany Murphy, Thora Birch, Tammy Blanchard, Marc Blucas


Plot: A screenwriter who travels to an abandoned house to finish a script on time, but a series of strange events lead her to a psychological breakdown.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Smart Story Wrong Genre


Story: Deadline starts by showing Alice (Murphy) our struggling screenwriter leaving the city to spend time in an isolated house to finish her latest work. Along with her friend Rebecca (Blanchard) who drives her we get to see the enormous house where she will be staying. Rebecca helps Alice settle in before leaving with the car to return next week to pick Alice up.

Alice alone in the house with the creakiest doors in the history of film it becomes clear that her week in the house will become difficult. The first night includes a nightmare and Alice starts to feel she isn’t alone in the house. We learn that Alice has an ex-boyfriend called Ben who is fresh out of prison who has done something to her in the past and Alice believes will come after her. Alice sees things in the shadows which lead her to discover the home movies of a couple called Lucy (Birch) and David (Blucas) before we find out about Alice and Rebecca real relationship.

Night two the hauntings escalate to hearing crying, seeing unusual images on her laptop, but this only drives Alice to stay and continue watching the videos. As Alice continues to watch the videos we see how David starts to change as the relationship continues as well as his obsession with filming moments of the couple life together. Alice has to try and figure out what happened between Lucy and David all while trying to battle her own demons which play out as a parallel to the story unfolding on the recordings.

Deadline offers up what looks like an traditional ghost haunting to solve a murder film and for the most part this is all that. Where this film takes a big change is in the final act which will leave you wondering about what happened. The biggest disappointment about this film is the idea that Alice has found tapes, watches them only to have the scene play out like we are actually there too. I do think if you watch closely you will see the hints about the end but otherwise this will disappoint on scares because most of the film is watching Alice watch the tapes. There was a lot more this film could have offered but in the end it falls short and never manages to decide what type of film it is meant to be. (4/10)


Actor Review


Brittany Murphy: Alice is our screenwriter heroine who decides to isolate herself from the world as she tries to finish her latest work. She isn’t as stable as we think as an ex is freshly out of jail that could come after her but when strange things start happening around the house we watch as she watches video recordings of a previous couple’s time in the house. Brittany does a solid job in one of her last acting roles but never reaches the level this film could have had with the ‘Don’t Say a Word’ level of acting. (6/10)


Thora Birch: Lucy is the wife from the videos who starts to see changes in her husband, she is also the ghost that seems to be haunting Alice warning her. Thora does a standard job as the victim but doesn’t seem to fit the role. (5/10)


Tammy Blanchard: Rebecca is Alice’s friend back in the city, she is the only connection to the real world Alice has and helps fill in the blanks to what was reported to have happened. Tammy gives a solid supporting performance without ever having enough time to excel. (5/10)


Marc Blucas: David is the unstable husband to Lucy who starts to question his wives faithful side before ending up becoming obsessed with the idea of not being able to trust Lucy. Marc starts out struggling in the role where it looks like David is normal but when he starts turning slightly darker it seems to bring out the best in him. (6/10)


Support Cast: Deadline doesn’t have anyone else turn up on camera in the cast.


Director Review: Sean McConville – Sean does a solid job directing it just seems like he wanted something fresh but went around reaching it the wrong way. (4/10)


Horror: Deadline starts out with very basic before moving away from the horror genre. (4/10)

Thriller: Deadline does try to keep you guessing and you are expecting a surprise by the end. (6/10)

Settings: Deadline creates a very isolated location for all the action to take place perfect for horror story. (9/10)

Suggestion: Deadline is a late night TV that you could give a go to but don’t expect anything great. (Late Night TV)


Best Part: Twist is clever.

Worst Part: Lack of horror.


Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $1.8 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

Tagline: Focus your fear.


Overall: Deadline is a horror thriller that really lacks any horror or thrills but does have a smart enough story.

Rating 50

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