Deadline DVD Review
Written by Daniel Benson
DVD released by Twisted Pictures
Written by Michel Bonset, Jonathan Kray, Jan Willem Peters & Ruben Taneja
Directed by Jonathan Kray
2002, Region 0 (PAL), 23 minutes, Rated 16 (Netherlands)
Cas Jansen as Mike
Anjali Taneja as Jenny
Willem Emo as Ed
Dorus van der Meer as Sjaak
Dirk Beemster as Fred
Floris Bakker as Peter
Ruben Taneja as Richard
Wende Snijders as Saskia
Network 19 News headlines: A plague of mosquitoes in the city of New Ijsselmer is causing havoc for local residents, evacuations have been taking place until the threat can be neutralized. Meanwhile, in other news, an unexplained explosion at the BetaChem biochemical plant has caused a complete lockdown with press and reporters denied access to the scene.
Jenny Visser and her team, soundman Jack and cameraman Ed, are at the scene of the BetaChem incident. Unable to get a story from their present location, they head off to an office block near the plant to see if anyone there can give them a story. They arrive at the offices of PowerSoft, finding the interior a scene of complete devastation. Searching the abandoned workspace they are shocked to find Mike, the injured PowerSoft supervisor, who tells them how the office ended up in its current state.
The PowerSoft team had a deadline to keep for their latest horror videogame; Final Flesh II. Stressed out with constant pressure from Mike and tired from nonstop coding, programmer Fred headed downstairs to brew up a fresh pot of coffee, followed by another couple of team members. On his way out he was bitten in the neck by a glowing green mosquito. Agitated by their lack of presence Mike stormed downstairs to get his team only to find Fred, eyes glowing green, finishing off his coworkers. As he tears back up to the office, his female assistant Sas was also bitten and attacked him, leaving him in his current bloodied state.
As Mike finishes his story he coughs and splutters his last breath leaving Jenny and her team to attempt an escape past the infected undead threat which remains within the building.
Deadline was shot on a budget of just $2000, a fact which is difficult to believe when you see how well turned out the film is. Shot on digital video, the overall effect is fantastic for something of such a minuscule budget. Nobody who worked on the film was paid and equipment was borrowed to keep the cost down.
It's hard to imagine how much could be packed into a film of 23 minutes without it seeming rushed, but Deadline accomplishes the inclusion of violence, gore, bad language and drug abuse into its flyweight runtime without making the pace too over the top. Everything a good movie should have.
The story is fairly straightforward, chemically mutated mosquitoes carry the necessary infection to turn your average Joe into an undead, flesh eating monster. The zombie make-up and prosthetic effects are well executed (no pun intended), and the use of some surprisingly good CGI adds to the big budget feel. The closing scene when the camera draws back over a CGI landscape is the only part which lets the film down ever so slightly. The digital effects duties were yet another cost saving talent found within the Twisted Pictures team allowing them to remove the need to build sets.
Some nice camerawork adds to the class this film exudes, the point of view of the news crew camera is used to good effect to increase the sense of claustrophobia in the abandoned office block. There are some nice parallels with classic zombie flicks too; an almost carbon-copy homage to the scene in Day of the Dead in which Rhodes (Joe Pilato) is torn in two, and the discovery of two zombies eating their victim in a Fulci's Zombie style.
This is an absolutely first-class project from a very small outfit and hopefully we can look forward to a full length feature from the same team, once they finish their current job of writing a TV show. If they can improve on Deadline then they have the makings of a seriously great film on their hands.
Video and Audio:
This is a PAL Region 0 DVD. The transfer is sharp and the colours are vivid. Despite the film taking place at night in its entirety, there is no sign of any pixellation during the shadowy scenes, although the blacks tend to be very dark gray rather than pure black and a little grain is present on the darker scenes. It's presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
A choice of Dutch Dolby Surround, or DD5.1. The latter is crisp and clear, the rear speakers don't get much of a workout save for a couple of scenes when the viewer is surrounded by the snarling of the zombies.
- Featurette - "Making the Deadline" – How to make a zombie movie with no money – Behind the scenes footage set mostly to music. Dutch Language only, but very easy to understand what's going on.
- Featurette - "Deadline SFX " – The Digital effects of Deadline - Some of the Digital FX broken down into component parts.
- Audio Commentary with the Cast – Choose this option, and see a split screen with the movie showing in the left hand side of the screen, and on the right the cast sit on a sofa and comment on the action. Dutch Only.
- Audio Commentary with Director Jonathan Kray, Writers Michael Bonset and Ruben Taneja, and Editor Jan Willem Peters - A traditional audio commentary over the movie. Dutch Only.
- Info Reel : Optional subs which give "interesting information and useless facts" throughout the movie. Dutch only.
- Short Film: Klem (translated: Clamp) 8 minute, light hearted short, about a young guy who wakes up in the gutter after a drunken night out to find that his head has been wheel clamped. There is also an audio commentary track by Jonathan Kray for this feature. Both in Dutch language only, but the short film is pretty self explanatory.
- Subtitles (For the feature) in Dutch, English, German and French.
The presentation of the DVD is simply stunning from a small studio. The opening menu is an animated mosquito which lands on the inside of the screen and twitches while the viewer decides what to pick. The setup menu allows the user to pick the sound format, subtitles, and even how they are displayed: either letterboxed (in the black bar below the picture) or Widescreen (superimposed on the bottom of the picture). The quantity and quality of the extra features is excellent and although the language is mainly Dutch for these, it is still worth spending some time checking them out.
|– Well written, shot and paced. Highly likable.
|– Very well balanced for a low budget movie.
|– Perfectly acceptable for the movie it accompanies.
|– Top class, puts some of the major studios to shame. Not all the extras are suitable for non-Dutch speakers but Twisted Pictures deserve the five stars for sheer effort.
|– A promising start for this fledgling studio, hopefully with bigger projects to come. All wrapped up in a package which is top class.
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