Patrick Pryor’s review published on Letterboxd:
NOTHING prepared me for this bum-out nihilistic squat-punk acid scuzz scream from hell slathered in blood and stale Miller Lite® and puke and dirt. Deadbeat at Dawn works as both a cheap thrills backyard actioner and a more layered and harrowing portrait of grief and despair beneath the rust belt mausoleum shadow of Dayton, Ohio (?!?!).
I love how the camera pushes in low and close during the (surprisingly stunning) action sequences stuffed with nunchucks and throwing stars and switchblades and pipes and automatic weapons. Dirtbags named Goose and Bone Crusher and Stubby loom large amongst new collapsing bulidings and rail yard detritus like sad comic book cronies about to fall apart. Real human non-actors rappel down parking garages and crash jalopies into polluted ponds and leap off dams. So many lives put at risk just to thrill us jabronies! Jim Van Bebber really knows how to stretch his shoestring budget and make those gang rumbles look good and Hollyweird epic in scope!
And the portrait of urban squalor left me shook and in need of a shower. I wanted to rinse away the bad vibes permeating the film like blood soaking through a leather jacket. Who knew a movie about over-the-top warring Buckeye street boyz would include intense sequences of suicide ideation, mourning a lost loved one, and a shirtless dustup with a heroin addicted dad? Death trip dreams crammed with money and gore flecked skulls and pistols to temples and sun rot graveyards and screaming men jabbing knives into each other like pitiful fragile sacks of meat? Van Bebber really had his hooks dug in dark places. This movie cracks open its shitty beer and chugs it, too.
As Bone Crusher yells, "I just fucking hate people. I hate people, AND I DON'T CARE."