Film Review: Deadbeat at Dawn (1988)

Release Date: November 18th, 1988 (Dayton, Ohio, US)
Directed by: Jim Van Bebber
Written by: Jim Van Bebber
Music by: A-OK, Ned Folkerth
Cast: Jim Van Bebber, Paul Harper, Megan Murphy, Marc Pitman

Asmodeus Productions Inc., 81 Minutes

Review:

“I don’t need your voodoo magic around my neck!” – Goose

While I appreciate filmmakers who can make chicken salad out of chicken shit, Deadbeat at Dawn doesn’t achieve that sort of status for me. Some people really like it and are even impressed by it but it is a tough movie to get through, even for an ’80s action junkie like me, who doesn’t mind over the top violence and the use of primitive practical effects.

The effects are really the highpoint of the movie but even then (and also considering the complete lack of budget) they just don’t cut it.

Deadbeat at Dawn is horrendously acted, terribly shot and while it seems self-aware and proud to be cinematic poop, it doesn’t really climb out of the Port-O-Let to give you some good, solid shit.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s worth checking out if you’ve never seen it and you have a high tolerance for dreck on celluloid. It’s certainly something that should be experienced but there are much better movies that are also made and presented in this style.

I think my biggest issue with it is that there is no silver lining or saving grace hidden within the film. Most movies like this have something redeeming or endearing. This doesn’t.

Sure, I can appreciate the fact that the director/writer/lead actor took his college money, rounded up his homies and shot this thing guerrilla style in the heart of Dayton, Ohio but I can’t look passed how bad it is.

Deadbeat at Dawn really tries to push the bar but others have pushed it much further and with much better results.

Rating: 2.5/10
Pairs well with: other overly gory ’80s action movies like Street Trash and Troma’s War.

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