What can one say about a movie that made £25,000 at the box office? That it was a blockbuster, that’s what!
Deadman Apocalypse, the first feature from writer, director, and producer Charlie Steeds, was made on the stringiest of shoestring budgets, only putting a £1,500 dent in Steeds’ bank account. That means Deadman Apocalypse made almost seventeen times its budget. Big Hollywood studios would kill, and have, for that kind of return on investment.
Of course, I’m being facetious. Box office returns are not the best measure of a film’s success. It’s the content of the film that counts. As for this film’s content? Well…
It’s the future! Near enough in time that guns shoot lasers, but there are no spaceships or aliens or anything like that. In this future, the sun has entered its red giant phase, boiling off the world’s oceans. Water is to be found underground, but this warren of tunnels, dubbed Labyrinthia, is ruled by the mad emperor Rameses (Barrington De La Roche), who has cut off all contact with survivors on the surface, and hordes all the water for himself and his minions.
A strikeforce was sent into the tunnels to find the water, but now, ten years later, only two of the team remain, trapped below and yearning to see the light of day once more. They are Alba (Kate Speak, and Sabrina Dicken in flashback), and the film’s gravelly-voiced, recalcitrant hero, Jack Deadman (Costa Chard, and Edward Carlton in flashback ).
If potential viewers try to picture where this film is going or what the experience will be like, they will be wrong. I can guarantee it. It all goes back to that £1,500 budget. That is a miniscule amount of resources, for a lot of things, not just making a movie. £1,500 will get one a shitty car, a shitty big city apartment, a shitty family vacation, or a shitty movie.
Steeds had to stretch his budget so far that the tunnels of Labyrinthia, where the bulk of this film takes place, are constructed from wooden pallets. The amount of suspension of disbelief required from the audience is staggering. Take a look at this:
That’s the set. With little variation, about two-thirds of the movie was filmed in that. The sets are slightly more sophisticated than what little kids put together out of cardboard boxes to play in. And children’s make believe is the general tone of the movie.
The bright spot of the film is Barrington De La Roche. He hams it up to such a spectacular degree that he makes the movie, if not worth watching, at least scrubbing through it to see his scenes. Viewers will rarely have seen a performance so angry and unhinged. I’d swear he almost gave himself an aneurysm. Everyone else gives the kind of performances one expects from a £1,500 movie.
De La Roche isn’t enough to save the film, though. Deadman Apocalypse is for the bottom feeding shitty movie fan. It has some curiosities, but for the most part it’s a difficult watch with not much to offer. Good on Steeds for getting his film made. The world is a slightly more artistically diverse place because he managed to get his movie in the can. Deadman Apocalypse takes over the #436 spot in the Watchability Index from Triassic Hunt.