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Deadly Blessing
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Deadly Blessing More at IMDbPro »

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22 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

One of Craven's best

Author: Cujo108 from Cleburne, TX
18 August 2010

This film is underrated as hell. I personally consider it Craven's best film aside from The Hills Have Eyes. Of course, I've always been interested in the Amish culture, so this film taking it a step further with the Hittites was something I was intrigued by before I'd even first watched it. The film is thematically interesting in it's juxtaposition of a strict, patriarchal culture with individuals who hold more modern values. Fertile ground for Craven given his stern religious upbringing. while the movie adheres more closely to the slasher formula, the setting and the implications of the supernatural both help to distinguish it.

The entire film is shrouded in an eerie atmosphere from the get-go. The country setting is beautiful, yet strangely menacing in the confines of the film. We also are treated to a few unnerving sequences, the snake in the bathtub and the spider dream sequence in particular. There's also a lengthy set-piece which takes place in the barn, exceptionally well-done.

Maren Jenson is a gorgeous woman (much more so than Stone), and she brings a grounded quality to her leading role. It's a pity she didn't do anymore films, TV or anything after this. This film marked Sharon Stone's first speaking role, and while she isn't great or even good, I did like her delivery when describing her dream early on. Ernest Borgnine and Michael Berryman are both favorites of mine, and they deliver two more solid characters to their resumés. The underrated Lois Nettleton is here too as Jensen's oddball neighbor.

I also have to admit that I loved the ending, which is often bashed. I thought if fit with everything that had come before, like the dog on the prowl, the spiders, Stone's dream sequences, etc. It felt like a malevolent force was influencing the surrounding area.

This film is a long-standing favorite of mine, and I for one think it deserves more respect. Of course, for that to happen, I suppose more people would need to see it first. Probably Craven's least seen film, which is most unfortunate.

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17 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Amish Paradise

6/10
Author: pumaye from Firenze, Italy
1 May 2002

A solid shocker, ruined by a botched story and a ridicolous finale, but already demonstrating the greatness of his director, Wes Craven. A couple of scenes in the movie (like the dream spider sequence with a young and pretty Sharon Stone, and the almost heartstopping snake in the bath scene) are really good and even the movie is good for more than half is length. Alas, the botched explanation of the resolution of the story (really stupid and very similar to another movie of those years - Sleepaway Camp) and the really ridicolous demon apparition at the end of the movie soften the total impact of this otherwise more than watchable thriller with mildly supernatural tones.

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20 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

My favorite Craven flick!

Author: ehoshaw from Trenton, MI
24 February 2001

This was awesome fun! I totally loved it, from beginning to end. I don't see why this got such mixed and/or bad reviews! This was great. Yes, the script could've used another polish, but after I saw it once I figured out what was happening. Maren Jensen, Sharon Stone, and Susan Buckner are bodacious babes living in a farmhouse in the remote countryside, surrounded on all sides by a religious cult known as the Hittites. Soon weird things start happening and people begin to die. Who is responsible? Is it the Hittites? Or something else? This is great! Rent it! Buy it! Cherish it! There are such great scenes, such as the scene in the barn (I swear, this scene had me jumping out of my socks!), the bathtub sequence, the double murder in the car, the peeping tom sequence, and the finale which was awesome! See this one, you won't be disappointed!

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17 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Delightfully bizarre horror!

9/10
Author: AngryChair from Brentwood, USA
16 May 2007

Early thriller from Wes Craven is a truly twisted tale of rural horror.

When a farmer is mysteriously killed by his tractor, his wife and her visiting friends are terrorized by someone...or something.

Deadly Blessing is a prime example of a horror film that's powered by eerie atmosphere. The story has many different kinds of horror elements feeding into it; psychological horror, slasher film, supernatural, religious horror. The rustic Texas filming locations are perfect to the foreboding nature of this movie. James Horner's weird chant-like music score is effectively creepy. Craven's direction is solid, as the film builds some tremendously suspenseful shock sequences. Yet Deadly Blessing is light on gore, this film relies upon far more skin-crawling terrors like spiders, snakes, and ominous dark figures -with knifes.

Sure, many people complain about the strange left-field ending but over all it doesn't hurt the film as bad as some people make out. After all this is the kind of horror film that runs on 'nightmare logic'.

The cast is pretty strong. Maren Jensen, Susan Buckner, and a young Sharon Stone make for a lovely trio of leading ladies. Veteran actor Ernest Borgnine is intimidating as the leader of a sect of religious fanatics. Douglas Barr is good as the ill-fated farmer, as is Jeff East as his morally confused younger brother.

Deadly Blessing is an undervalued horror film that should appeal to horror fans who enjoy their films firmly on the strange side.

*** out of ****

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Well made and interesting, but slightly disappointing

Author: jangu from Stockholm, Sweden
10 May 2001

I have a soft spot for this movie since I saw it years ago. The plot goes haywire in all kinds of directions and nothing much actually happens (it is a little too slow-moving for it's own good). But it is imaginatively directed I think, with nice touches (the bath, the dream with the spider, the barnsequence) and an overall creepy atmosphere. Of course, the acting has it's weak spots with some overacting and some none-acting, but the women are all gorgeus and Maren Jensens husband isn't a badlooking fella' himself but he doesn't get much screentime. The ending, as so many have pointed out, is just a little bit silly/weak and I suspect that there was an alternative one (it seems so much like a tacked-on scene). But I don't understand that so many people really dislike this film. It's not the best from Mr Craven (he has done far worse. "Deadly Friend", "Swamp thing" and "The Hills have eyes 2" are truly embarassing). If it shows up as a late-night movie, give it a try!

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Cool little Craven tale.

7/10
Author: suspiria10 from The Void
5 May 2004

A nifty little thriller that involves three best friends consoling each other after the murder of one of their husbands. Out in the middle of rural USA the ladies are threatened by the local religious sect (the Hitites) for which the husband was once a part of. It seems one of the Hitites incubi is on the loose killing the yokels and not even the sheriff can stop it. A good cast of recognizable faces (Sharon Stone, Ernest Borgnine, Michael Berryman, etc) and an above average (but not very original) script into a sometimes thrilling film. Did anyone notice that the bathtub scene looks very familiar (think NOES). Suspiria10 says B-

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A CLASSIC IN THE MAKING (Spoilers)

10/10
Author: deadlyfriend78 from States
21 January 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this film just this year, and I must say it is well worth the effort put into it! It is a theological statement that exludes the usual he said/she said gobblygook about :organized religion and goes on to tell the story of young Martha Schmidt(T.V.'s very gorgeous Maren Jenson of "Battlestar Galactica")Who is living a happy life until her husband(Doug Barr) is killed off y his own tractor! She invites her two friends, Lana Marcus(A very young and naive Sharon Stone) and Vicki Anderson( played out gloriously by "Grease"'s Susan Buckner)to come and help her out through the grieving process. they all soon under go some of the most terrifyingly brilliant situations, that include Snakes, Barns, Hitittes, Guns, Chickens! etc. and all bring them down to a terrifying conclusion! This film was one of Craven's most unsuccesful when it came to money making, but was indeed succesful when it came to scares! The acting is brilliant(thanks to Maren Jenson, and most importantly, Susan Buckner) and the James Horner musical score is chilling. A must see for ALL craven fans!

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

You got my blessing.

7/10
Author: lost-in-limbo from the Mad Hatter's tea party.
14 October 2007

After the mysterious death of her husband, soon after leaving a strict religious sect known as the Hittites. Martha is left as a lonely widow expecting a child, and inherits the country house. Soon two of her friends Vicky and Lana come to comfort her and hopefully bring her back with them, but she prefers to stay. The local Hittites headed by Isaiah see her as the blame for the death and including one of their own, and claim her to be the incubus. Soon strange things begin to happen, and she gets the feeling it might be the sect behind it, but far more sinister work seems to be abound.

Craven's lost treasure in his film collection just might be his curiously under-seen 1981 cult film "Deadly Blessing". Finally with its DVD release in Australia, I got the chance and really enjoyed this stylishly skin crawling and at times inspired psychological shocker. Everything about Wes Craven's well-mounted set pieces is genuinely haunting and visually striking with its spontaneously unexpected and innovative jolts. Tight, pressure-boiling suspense is atmospherically tailored to the dreamy, offbeat air and Craven's judgement is immensely on song. He paints the surreal mood with great use of tinted colouring, well-lit lighting and an eerily original and alienating rural location choice. Going a long way to making the whole set-up quite effective was James Horner's alarming music score, which ripples with ripe and tight thunderous cues. Glenn M. Benest and Mathew Barr's busily symbolic story builds upon the groundwork to only end up all over the shop with its supernatural and psychological elements that seem too uneven and illogical. Boy does it become out-of-control, and strange leading to the climax. It does throw one surprise after another! However the ambiguously outrageous and tacky shock ending, now that was a real eye opener that totally felt out-of-place within the subtle context. Listen to the amusing DVD commentary to understand the reasoning for its inclusion. Robert Jessup's elegantly scenic cinematography is well observed and swiftly handled. The three beautiful lead females were convincingly accessible; a headstrong Maren Jensen, joyful Susan Buckner and a drop dead gorgeous, but fragile-minded Sharon Stone. Ernest Borgnine's steadfast, godly turn as the sect leader is superbly prominent. Michael Berryman is unforgettable. Lisa Hartman and Lois Nettleton are enjoyably lively, and Jeff East and Kevin Cooney also appear. Also Craven manages to squeeze a neat little reference to his very good TV movie "Summer of Fear".

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Ahhhh, those wild and crazy Amish!

7/10
Author: James Mirarchi from San Francisco, California
29 January 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"We are the kindred of god! We have no business with the serpents!" "You are a stench in the nostrils of god!"

The above is just some of the exquisite dialogue that awaits you in 1981's "Deadly Blessing", an odd offering from Wes Craven, whose first (technically) mainstream production features some wholesome TV stars of the past, trapped in an unmitigated miasma of weirdness. Some of the actors are:

Sweet, exotic/Hawaiian-looking girl next door, Maren Jensen from the 70's "Battlestar Galactica"; strapping boy next door Doug Barr, the sidekick from the "The Fall Guy" TV show; Lisa Hartman from her pre-"Knots Landing" days; Jeff East, the young Clark Kent from 1979's "Superman - The Movie"... And the list goes on....

The basic story is (or so it seems): an Amish-like religious sect, called the Hitites, tries to harass and kill the widow of their recently departed kin (not to mention, her city slicker-girlfriends who are visiting) so they can reclaim the "consecrated" land "wrongly" bequeathed to her. Like all outsiders to this sect, she has been branded the "Incubus" (a demon that takes you in your sleep) ... and she must be destroyed!!!

Many viewers find this movie to be wildly incongruent and confusing ... and, you know what, they're all right. Especially guilty is the ending, where the film's three contributing screenwriters must have had some sort of creative mental breakdown. Still, I must also defend the film by saying it has a certain uncanny SOMETHING! This is a horror flick that has a cozy leisurely quality, due, in no small part, to its pastoral setting and TV movie vibe. However, shamelessly applied to this tranquil canvas are a slasher film's prowling camera, leather gloved hands, peeping tom shots of naked women, the foreboding "Supernatural", primitive and ritualistic (almost pagan) motifs - spiders, snakes, and chickens ... etc.

As for the quality of the film-making, it is quite good. Wes Craven creates a realistic intimacy between the young widow and her girlfriends, and is an elegant craftsman in creating suspense - he only flounders toward the film's climax, where he resorts to bombastic chaos, instead of genuine tension; the photography is, simply put, very atmospheric; and, finally, the score by James Horner (which features rich-sounding ceremonial GONGS) beautifully alternates between the idyllic and the sinister - his only misstep is to pepper the soundtrack with ridiculous chanting, taken straight from the "The Omen". Not good.

Since many of the actors were borrowed from television, their performances come off as workmanlike. Not bad, though! Ernest Borgnine, however, shines as he earnestly hams it up as the fanatical leader of the Hitites. A young, slightly Rubenesque Sharon Stone also stands out - not particularly for her acting (it turns out she gives a pretty spacey performance) but for her otherworldly fashion model presence.

As for the film's many twists, they are not satisfyingly calculated ... they are of the slapdash kind ... Almost as if the film's screen writing trio were sporadically taking drugs to heighten their creativity ... "making it up as they went along". Visually, however, the film always works. It's the type of movie that FEELS right, but whose plot motivations are sketchy.

Some of the film's head-scratching moments are:

1. A virginal supporting character is SUDDENLY revealed to be a clairvoyant killer.

2. The protagonist, played by Maren Jensen, discovers that her dead husband's body has been exhumed from its grave and strategically replaced with a horde of frisky chickens that leap out of the coffin and terrify our heroine.

3. A cute, but dowdy, neighbor played by Lisa Hartman, clandestinely paints the Maren Jensen character from across a field while she's doing chores outside her house. She is obsessed with her. Toward the end of the film, the Jensen character discovers the paintings. It is eventually revealed that Lisa Hartman is a hermaphrodite with a crush on Jensen. Also, we discover that Hartman's mother is psychotically overprotective about her half-and-half offspring and will do anything to shield her from heartbreak. The film even intimates that she (not the Hitites) may be the one stalking Jenson and her female houseguests. The final exhausting kicker is when the filmmakers reveal that the Hartman character is the messenger of the "Incubus" ... not the Jensen character, who was initially branded by the Hitites. Got all that?

4. Earlier in the film, the Jensen character eventually locates the missing body of her dead husband (good guy Doug Barr) in the barn/studio of Lisa Hartman. He is reverently propped up in his burial clothes like some embalmed maharajah. This does not make any sense since the Hartman character is obsessed with Jensen, not her husband.

Still, despite all of the film's loopy loose ends, I rather watch something cheesily intriguing like "Deadly Blessing" over tedious Oscar prestige films like "The English Patient" or "The Hours". Any day!

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16 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

It's a Bi+ch of a Blessing.

10/10
Author: ddfcmp8 from Somewhere East
9 June 2006

You know what? I almost like this film more than "Last House On The Left", because of the fact that it carries itself in such a manner. I am almost sure that it has been tossed in the gutter in the past few years. it shouldn't be. You know what? If I were Sharon Stone, I'd be proud of this film, because it is not as bad as people say, or as bad as she thinks. I bet a LOT of people prefer it to that Basic Instinct sequel. I liked BI2, but c'mon, This film is better than that, everybody knows it. This movie is just fine. It has some pretty good sequences, and a nice cast of three outstandingly beautiful women, and a low key, but creepy score by a then unknown James Horner. I actually prefer it to other supernatural horror films, and you know what? I'm not the only one, and thank goodness for that. I like this film, in all it's freaky glory, and the shrieks and scares! Were I to be "blessed", I'd say it were one bi+ch of a blessing. Thank god I am not around the lovely Maren Jensen at the end of this chiller.

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