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One of Wes Craven's weaker entries in his filmography, yet Deadly Blessing still has a charm that makes almost essential slasher horror viewing.
Great early work from Wes Craven. Sharon Stone, Ernest Borgnine and Mauren Jensen do a great job with this sexy thriller about an Amish "cult".
Its made of two interlocking halves that feels like 2 different movies, one of 6 women in 3 house that are getting tense, and one in a hittite sect that fears a devil is lurking. The camera treatment is quite elegant but 80% of the time you forget its supposed to be a horror movie; it unfolds in pastoral laziness until it remembers it has a story to tell, wanting to appear like a supernatural slasher but people just wont die and the supernatural is extremely timid until the last minute. When taken as a whole its an interesting story though, if a bit confusing with a vague antagonist and vaguer denouement. I give 3.5 because thats what it takes for RT to consider it liked but its almost a 3 with its pacing problem, though the weird incomplete story and the dreamy style kinda make up for it. Interesting detail; 10 years before her breaktrhough, Sharon Stone's starpower was already obvious.
People are too easy on Wes Craven. Sure, he gave the world Freddy Krueger, not to mention the original The Hills Have Eyes, but he also gave us a fuckton of worthless dross. 1981's Deadly Blessing is an example of said dross. The plot is hardly worth hashing over. I think it's more than enough to simply say it's amazing how the man who wrote and directed A Nightmare on Elm Street, one of the very best horror films of the 1980s, could also make a film as bad as this one. Torture yourself with this movie if you must, but don't say I didn't warn you. Craven's career was wildly uneven, and it's because of films like Deadly Blessing that I remain, Elm Street notwithstanding, ultimately a Craven skeptic.
An Amish-sploitation flick. Pretty slow and uneventful compared to most Wes Craven movies. It had good atmosphere and setting, but the plot and characters never drew me in.
There are individual moments that work but overall Deadly Blessing is uneven. The result is nowhere near Craven's best work although it could be viewed as a curiosity.
The Amish community is one of clandestine rituals and Rumspringa alone could be converted into a feasible horror film. On the other hand, Deadly Blessing scrutinizes the borderline cult aspects of the luddite lifestyle as if it were a pagan subculture summoning the arrival of the incubus. With that in mind, I could corroborate the furor the Amish might expectorate on this with precious images of Hittite field tilling and diurnal chores over ominous Gregorian chants. Without the additives of demonic makeup, Michael Berryman and Ernest Borgnine are already accursed, spectral voices of doom. One moment of surprisingly subtle despair from Berryman is when he peeping on Martha (Maren Jensen) in her negligee and he looks genuinely crestfallen over his sheltered existence. The subtext about proselytizing from the ascetic community to a more "worldly" relationship with a woman is vapidly skimmed with intermittent scenes of Isaiah (Borgnine) scolding his kin not to "covet" tractors and the other luxuries of their infidel neighbors. In lieu of that incendiary topic, Deadly Blessing is mostly tethered to an overblown slasher film. Sharon Stone's nightmare about a salacious killer who preys on her spider phobia might be Wes Craven's epiphany for dream stalker Freddy Krueger. Also bridging the gap between this and A Nightmare on Elm Street is the POV of a snake slithering between Martha's legs in the tub. Those who avidly anticipate an underrated installment from the late Craven will be sorely dispirited that Deadly Blessing is a torpid, rustic 'Sleepaway Camp' clone. The car explosion is decently suspenseful though.
There's no corn, but might as well call this Amish of the Corn. It's actually a pretty good (for it's time) thriller. Full of suspense, a couple of twists, some misdirection; It works well. The 15 seconds at the end (shortest paranormal addition to a film maybe ever - which is kind of thrown in for who knows why) are quite effective and surprising. Think Craven's Nightmare on Elm Street final scene; it's similar. In fact, there are so many parallels between this movie and his successful horror inception of NOES (bath scenes are almost interchangeable). Plus you get Ernest Borgnine leading the creepy, cult-like Amish (or hitite) group, a very young (teenage?) Sharon Stone, and a lead character that strikes a very uncanny resemblance to Rachel McAdams in Maren Jensen. Thumbs up for this early Wes Craven piece.