Underseen & Underrated: Deadbeat At Dawn

Every two weeks this column will shed light on the underseen, underrated, or misunderstood. Most films will be vastly different from one another, so just consider this a bi-weekly recommendation from me. This week’s film is Jim Van Bebber’s Deadbeat At Dawn (1988).

A few years ago, I was on a mission to find everything I could that was even remotely considered disturbing, and this was something that constantly popped up on various lists and videos. Granted, I ignored it at first, but after seeing it last month, I’d consider it unsettling solely for the fact that the action is so gruesomely realistic—sometimes I wondered how some of it was even accomplished. At its core it’s a sleazy revenge flick, but it also emulates that classic gang lifestyle The Warriors did so well (just far more barbaric). Since the plot is pretty straightforward, it allows the film to focus on stunts and action more than anything, and it does it in spades. The closing 10 to 15 minutes is seriously insane and has some of the most entertaining action of the 80s, even if I did wince at some of the carnage. Although it may not be for everyone, I’d highly recommend you give it a chance. It’s one of the filthiest genre films I’ve ever seen, and it needs to be seen to be believed. 

Where to Watch:

Shudder (currently offering a free 30-day trial with promo code: SHUTIN)

Underseen & Underrated

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