Saturday 16 March 2013

Deadly Blessing - UK Blu-Ray review

"Deadly Blessing", one of Wes Craven’s earlier and lesser known horrors,  is the latest film to be given the special edition treatment from Arrow films and they were kind enough to furnish me with a Blu-Ray copy to review. So having recently invested in an external BD-Rom drive for my laptop, decided to give it a whirl.
The film primarily revolves around a young farming couple, Martha (played by Battlestar Gallactica’s Maren Jensen) and her husband Jim (Douglass Barr, who you’ll probably recognise from TVs “The Fall Guy”). Martha met Jim in college whilst in LA and now lives with him on his farm.

But it seems all is not well in rural America, Jim used to belong to an Amish sect known as the Hittite, who resent him for turning his back on them and their “traditional” ways, as well as using modern agricultural machinery on his property, which is right next door to theirs. So when Jim is killed under mysterious circumstances, suspicion immediately falls upon them, in particular their leader, Isiaah (as played by movie veteran Ernest Borgnine).

Following the funeral, a couple of Martha’s friends (played by a young Sharon Stone, in one of her first screen roles, and that girl who played ‘Patty’ in “Grease”), drive out to visit her, which causes a bit of a stir amongst some of the younger Hittite men. But soon after their arrival, they suspect that Jim’s death was no accident as members of the Hittite start dieing under mysterious circumstances too. As the bodies pile up and accusations fly, they soon realise there’s a killer in their midst.

Featuring an interesting mix of cast, which also includes horror veteran Michael Berryman, who had previously collaborated with Wes Craven on “The Hills Have Eyes”, whilst "Deadly Blessing" may not be quite as entertaining as his later “Nightmare on Elm Street” or “Scream” movies, this is still an interesting slasher type movie that fans of his later works will want to check out. Indeed, sharper eyed viewers will be quick to spot several key scenes which Craven copied for his later Elm Street films. Though I wasn’t sure about the twist ending (which I won’t spoil) when the film suddenly goes from being a slasher movie to a supernatural one, but you’ll have to view it for yourself to see what I mean.

Extras wise, the disc contains a nice set of special features including a special introduction by Michael Berryman, a feature length audio commentary track with director Wes Craven. You also get 3x interview features, “The Deadliest Director” in which Wes Craven discusses how the film came about. “Craven Images” in which Michael Berryman discusses how he got into showbusiness and his earlier films and the films he did with Wes and Deadly Desires which features screenwriter Glenn Benest discussing his involvement in the project.
Also included is the original theatrical trailer and, if you click around on the main and special feature menus, there’s a couple of eater eggs in which Michael Berryman discusses a couple of recent horror films he’s made and Glen Benest shares his thoughts on the poster artwork for the film.

A nice set of extras for, what could best be described as, one of Wes Craven’s more obscurer movies. The film is being released to UK video shelves in a Blu Ray and DVD combo pack on March 25th.

Buy the UK BD/DVD combo pack from

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