Twitter Plot Summary: A Birmingham band head into the studio to record their new album, only to find a killer on the loose.
Oh dear. Those are perhaps the only words sufficient to describe low budget Brummie slasher horror movie DeadTime. Not only does it feature the esteemed acting talents of Leslie Grantham, Terry Christian (for a minute of screen time apiece) but also Joe Egan, a man whose main claim to fame is appearing in the two Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes films, and to a much lesser extent a lot of other low budget fodder, as Big Joe or a similarly named big character.
A Birmingham band converge on a grotty little studio in the West Midlands in order to record their latest album. Unfortunately for them they are let down by a lack of creativity, their management who are pushing for a return to form, and the masked killer who is stalking the corridors and bumping people off at regular intervals. We’ve seen this sort of thing before in Kill Keith, but that at least had the benefit of knowing how bad it was. DeadTime is just awful, no two ways about it.
The Birmingham accent isn’t one that naturally lends itself to a cinematic setting, and there’s barely a character here who doesn’t represent the city by their thick Birmingham accents and their backwards attitudes. It’s a surprise that the city wasn’t in uproar about how they are represented, but then most of them have probably never heard of the film and subsequently have nothing to be angry about. In essence, a bunch of unlikeable characters are thrown together and tasked with surviving to the end credits. The thing is, because they are all so horribly unpleasant you end up wishing that they would all meet a horrible end – preferably within the first 15 minutes to save us sitting through the rest of the film.
An incredibly brief cameo from Judas Priest’s Ian Hill – because he’s from Birmingham, bab – sets the tone from the off – essentially it means bad acting and a bad use of location. It’s your typical low budget slasher flick, a masked man takes inspiration from Jason Voorhees circa Friday The 13th Part 2, not just through him killing people one by one, but because he chooses to wear a fetching burlap sack in order to hide his real identity. The deaths are bountiful and there is gratuitous female nudity just because genre convention dictates it.
Ordinarily an inventive mix of character deaths would be enough to save even the most ridiculous of slasher films, but that’s not the case here. Tarnished by bad CGI, poor camerawork and some less than credible acting, it’s a film that lives or dies on having at least one of those separate elements be competently presented, instead it fails on each point and does so with gusto. Even a black magic plot that comes into play in the final act feels misjudged and at odds with the preceding 60 minutes. Is there a point to be made here about the state of the music industry? As it happens, no. And that’s yet another black mark in the Big Book of Cliches.
Furthermore you can probably guess who the killer is within the first five minutes, it doesn’t come as a shock, although their outrageously over the top performance probably does. Save this one for a bad movie night if you have to, it has no other redeeming qualities worthy of your time. There aren’t even any awkward shots of Leslie Grantham sucking his finger provocatively. What a waste.