Reviewed by: David Gillespie, official HCF artist
The early 1990’s saw the birth of the grunge rock music scene from the rainy landscapes of Seattle in the good old, USA. Students like myself had the opportunity to skip a bath, grow a messy excuse for a hairstyle and borrow our dad’s boggin cardigan. Bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains brought rock music back to the masses and a whole swarm of European bands also tried to cash in on this sound. Perhaps if Deadtime had arrived in your video shop in 1992 rather than 2012 there might have been more interest in this patchy horror slasher?
An ageing rock band are at the last chance saloon after their second album flops miserably. They have a loyal but inept manager called Jimmy (Carl Coleman) and worryingly, a record deal with a company fronted by someone that looks and sounds suspiciously like Terry Christian. Things soon get worse when Jimmy books them into a festering recording studio in some round down Birmingham neighbourhood. The creepy lead singer, Zac (Laurence Saunders) informs them that it used to be used as a mental ward. We are soon introduced to the rest of the band, some groupies and a ‘camp as tents’ video producer (Adam Fray). After some mundane banter, drug taking and half rate sex scenes, a hooded figure (resembling Batman villain, The Scarecrow) appears with a rather large blade and begins to despach anyone in harms way. The first kill is rather unpleasant and was enough to gain the BBFC attention. It involves the killer stabbing a groupie somewhere that the sun don’t shine. However the rather odd response by the victim and the cheesy background music dissolves any repulsion or shock from the scene. The rest of the running time involves the cast attempting to escape the almost fortified recording studio and find out who the killer is and his/her motives.
Deadtime does not add anything new to the slasher/ horror genre but it is not a complete loss either. The effects on show are fairly average with a few reasonably grisly kills on show to spice things up. One stabbing to a band member while he is attempting to climb a ladder did make me grimace. Some of the other kills rely on CGI splats which always seem a little pointless to me?
The acting ranges from poor to average, although Laurence Saunders is suprisingly good as the unstable frontman and Adam Fray is funny as the pretentious video producer. Perhaps it would have been better for Leslie Grantham and Terry Christian’s names to be taken away from the front of the DVD box. They are only in the film for around two minutes each and they don’t contribute anything to the storyline.
If the movie has anything going for it then it is the soundtrack which isn’t bad at all. The opening track is rather catchy and almost hints of potential great things that unfortunately never come. Deadtime does deliver most of the aspects that it’s target audience will be seeking on a Friday night in with a takeaway curry and six pack. A dollop of gory violence, a side order of sleazy sex scenes and a noisy rock soundtrack.