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    DEADLINE
    Rating½ 

     
    Netherlands. 2002
    Director – Jonathan Kray, Screenplay – Kray, Michel Bonset, Jan Willem Peters & Ruben Taneja, Photography – Luuk Zonnenberg, Music – Joris De Man, Special Effects Supervisor – Stefan Rademakers, Makeup Effects – Lawrence Kelatow, Art Direction – Taneja & Afke Golsteijn. Production Company – Twisted Pictures.
    Cast:
    Cas Jansen (Mike), Anjali Taneja (Jenny Visser), William Evo (Ed), Dorus Van Der Meer (Sjaak), Dirk Beemster (Fred), Floris Bakker (Peter), Henny Stoel (Newsreader)
     

     
    Plot: Genetically modified mosquitoes have escaped from a lab. A news crew at the scene come across the entrance to the Powersoft computer company and enter, finding the building devastated. They come across a sole survivor, Mike, who tells his story. He was pushing the people underneath him to complete work on the Final Flesh II computer game when suddenly his co-workers became infected by mosquito bites and turned into rabid, flesh-eating zombies. As he finishes telling the story, the group realizes that several of the zombified co-workers are still in the building.
     

     
    This Dutch-made short film is a return to the gore-drenched zombie films of the 1980s that came out following the success of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1979). The film’s intentions are clearly signalled by the placing of various posters for films from that era – Oasis of the Zombies (1981), Scanners (1981), Re-Animator (1985) – in the background. The film is a promising attempt at making a return to the 1980s-styled zombie film. Though clearly low-budget, it is made with quite a reasonable degree of professional polish. The final shot in particular, which pulls back from the zombies closing in, pinning the last remaining character against a window and keeps pulling back across a CGI-painted cityscape to the final image of a glowing mosquito impacting against the screen, is most effective. Director Jonathan Kray offers up a number of effective jumps and surprises, although the gore is fairly light – the best effect is a shot were where a victim is torn in half at the midriff by zombies, an effect that has been borrowed from George Romero’s Day of the Dead (1985). On the minus side is the film’s length. When I sat down to view this film, I did not realize that it was only a 21-minute short. As a result I ended up expecting a much more fully-fledged and meatier horror film. It feels perpetually on the verge of opening up into much more than it eventually does. The zombie attacks remain piecemeal and never build up to the all-out ferocity or siege mentality that the better copies of Romero during the 1980s did.
     

    Copyright Richard Scheib 1999-2013