Long Time Dead

Long Time Dead


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Horror movies have reached the stage where originality is less appreciated than pastiche. How many people went to see Shadow Of The Vampire compared to Scary Movie 2? Why did Ed Gein die the death, while Scream 3 pulled the crowds?

Long Time Dead is doubly disadvantaged. It's British and it's imaginative. Also, it doesn't have Neve Campbell, nor enough dosh to go gungy on the effects. If you want to fix a label to its sweaty shoe, try Halloween. There is a whiff of supernatural nastiness in the air and although Michael Myers does not appear, the killing thing is as insatiable.

A group of students, at a club one night, decide to fool around with a Ouija board. They climb down into the basement of a building and set up a makeshift circle of letters on a sheet of glass. Half of them are stifling giggles when suddenly a message comes through. It prophesies death to those who meddle with the spirits of the unquiet.

One of the lads freaks out and his girlfriend goes after him. She hears sounds where sounds should not be. Traumatised, she waits. The others feel the fear without recognising its source.

Already there is a pattern - the victims have been identified, the beast from the dark lord's lair breaths metallic noise into their chill grey eyes, the night will run black with blood - but the pattern is false because this isn't Hollywood and these people are not campus canaries fluttering in the mouth of madness. They are rational, cynical, normal young adults, otherwise known as dopeheads and late-sleepers.

They don't believe that the rush of evil is a white light pierced through the throat of fire. They believe in drinking too much, doing as little housework as possible and not saying "I love you" when asked. And then someone dies. Horribly. Tomorrow seems a long way off. There are no more jokes.

Director Marcus Adams, with four scriptwriters, takes care with the characters, who are so believable that you feel what they feel, urgently staying together in the misguided belief that there is safety in numbers. He uses musique concrete to create an aura of terror. The djinn is a spirit that knows no mercy and the film's 15 certificate is a dangerous miscalculation.

After years of Freddy and Jason and the teen-slasher maniacs, a British horror flick that dares to return to the once-derided genre of Devil-worship and demonic possession is welcome, especially when it feels as fresh as an open wound.

Reviewed on: 16 Jan 2002
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British supernatural serial killer horror flick, with demonic overtones.
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Director: Marcus Adams

Writer: Eitan Arrusi, Chris Baker, Daniel Bronzite, Andy Day

Starring: Joe Absolom, Lara Belmont, Alec Newman, Melanie Gutteridge, Lukas Haas, James Hillier, Marsha Thomason, Mel Raido

Year: 2001

Runtime: 94 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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