Dir. Josh Bailey
Starring: Nick Champa, Taylor Tunes, Sophie Giberson, Kyle English, William Poole.
Deadlocked is a new American indie horror film about a group of survivors who are trapped on an elevator during a zombie outbreak. In a claustrophobic environment, the threat of infection and attack is lingering while the survivors work together to find a way out.
The zombie genre has been over saturated since the early 2000s, but Deadlocked finds its own niche rather than treading on old ground. Elevataphobia is very much a real fear, mixing this with the fear of an outbreak and releasing it during a ‘real-life’ world wide pandemic is nothing short of a stroke of genius.
With such a claustrophobic location, Deadlocked builds a strong emphasis on atmosphere much like elevator horror Devil (2010). In a confined space, there is a strong focus on both the acting and sound design and these hold up extremely well with the film achieving a vice-like grip over your attention. The camera intentionally focuses on tight angles to heighten the feeling of nausea and is well-shot. In terms of scares, Deadlocked isn’t going to give you nightmares or make you jump too often, but it won’t make you feel too safe either. Due to the limitations of the budget, the make-up isn’t going to hold up against its mainstream horror film counterparts but this is forgiven due to the films solid production values in other areas. The hand-held camera action used in later segments provides a nice change of pace and tension.
The zombies may be few in numbers but their threat is persistent. Deadlocked focuses on the aspect of survival over cheap tricks and gore. While the action may be limited at times, the plot certainly doesn’t drag its heels. There are a few twists and turns which help to keep the film interesting. Deadlocked leaves you craving more, and this can only be seen as a positive. Much like Pontypool (2008), sound plays a key role in keeping the threat of danger persistent. With a larger budget maybe the tension and gore could have been ramped up but Deadlocked certainly makes good use of what it has available.
Much like its location, Deadlocked elevates itself through sharp set pieces and rising tension. With a micro budget of only $10,000 (approx.) it delivers an impressive indie horror offering which is well worth your attention. The production values surpass the budget at the best of times, and the plot exceeds the limitations of its location. Deadlocked is a fine example of ‘less is more’ and provides great escapism while we try to survive our own pandemic.
Deadlocked is now available on Amazon Prime UK.