Long Time Dead

Published on: March 23rd, 2004

LONG TIME DEAD

4/10

UK 2001
director : Marcus Adams
script : Eitan Arrusi, Daniel Bronzite, Chris Baker, Andy Day
(story: Bronzite, Adams, James Gay-Rees)
producers include : Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner
cinematography : Nic Morris
editing : Lucia Zucchetti
music : Don Davis
lead actors : Alec Newman, Joe Absolom, Marsha Thomason, Lukas Haas
c90 minutes

That grim title sadly still fits the whole British horror scene, dormant since The Exorcist effectively ripped out Hammer’s jugular back in the 70s. Despite occasional stirrings – most recently last year’s underrated The Hole – rigor mortis is still the general rule, thanks to depressingly ordinary efforts like Adams’ debut.
Chilling out at a rave club, six students go in search of kicks with a ouija board. Their fun turns sour when the message A-L-L D-I-E is spelled out, and soon the pals are being picked off one by one by an unstoppable demonic force – a ‘djinn’, last seen as villain in those grisly American Wishmaster flicks.

Adams, however, keeps his violence off-screen, cynically calculating that a ’15’ certificate will enable youthful fans of ‘Eastenders’ heart-throb Absolom to storm the multiplexes. He’s just one photogenic face in an rag-bag ensemble cast also featuring War Zone starlet Belmont, token Yank (Haas, unrecognisable from Witness) and the inevitable Tom Bell as a scrawny oldster. Script and direction are relentlessly join-the-dots, stitching together familiar scenes from countless previous chillers before a lame, FX-heavy climax that makes no S-E-N-S-E at all.

There are a couple of decent jolts along the way, but the clunky dialogue undermines any hope for real chills: four scriptwriters claim credit – or, rather, admit blame. It’s simply not good enough, post-‘Scream’, to rely on numbnuts ‘Don’t go in the house/attic/basement’ behaviour from the victims-to-be.
Then again, it’s hard to imagine anything worthwhile emerging from a premise that was old hat when Morrissey disinterred it for ‘Ouija Board, Ouija Board’ ten years ago. In the wake of Audition, Brotherhood of the Wolf and Jeepers Creepers, it’s clear that proper movie horror has long since moved on. A-V-O-I-D.


6th November, 2001
(seen Oct-31-01, Plaza Regent St, London)

by Neil Young
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