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A gruesome secret, protected for generations, rises to give its Deadly Blessing!
For more about Deadly Blessing and the Deadly Blessing Blu-ray release, see Deadly Blessing Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on March 27, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Director: Wes Craven
Writers: Glenn M. Benest, Matthew Barr, Wes Craven
Starring: Sharon Stone, Susan Buckner, Jeff East, Douglas Barr, Lisa Hartman, Ernest Borgnine
» See full cast & crew
Deadly Blessing Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, March 27, 2013
Wes Craven's "Deadly Blessing" (1981) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Arrow Video. The supplemental features on the disc include the film's original theatrical trailer; video interview with co-writer and associate producer Glenn M. Benest; video interview with actor Michael Berryman; audio commentary by director Wes Craven; and more. The release also arrives with an illustrated booklet featuring writing on the film by author and film critic Kim Newman as well as a reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin. In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
Jim ( Douglas Barr, TV's The Fall Guy), a former member of the Hittite community, lives with Martha (Maren Jensen, TV's The Love Boat), originally from Los Angeles, on an isolated farm somewhere in the countryside. Jim no longer communicates with his father Isaiah (Ernest Borgnine, The Wild Bunch, Escape from New York), who is still the leader of the Hittites, but regularly sees him working the land with his people not too far away from his house.
For months, William (Michael Berryman, The Hills Have Eyes, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), a local simpleton, has been harassing the young women in the area, insisting that their souls are owned by the evil Incubus. Shortly after Jim finally confronts him, he gets killed by a tractor. Despite being one of their own, the Hittites only observe his funeral from afar.
A few days later, Martha's best friends, Lana (Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct) and Vicky (Susan Buckner, TV's When the Whistle Blows), arrive from Los Angeles to console her. Almost immediately after that, the three girls begin having some truly bizarre experiences.
Wes Craven's Deadly Blessing is loosely divided into two uneven parts. In the first all important characters and the conflicts between them are identified.
The second part has the classic genre elements the overwhelming majority of Craven's best horror films are known for – tension, dreaminess, and bizarreness. Some of the best sequences here also have an interesting twist. It is all put together rather well, allowing the film to build and maintain an atmosphere that is in fact what makes it worth seeing.
The acting, however, does not always impress. Stone, in particular, often looks stiff in front of the camera and utters her lines in a manner that makes many supposedly important sequences look disappointingly amateurish. Consider the one where she tries to get a glass of milk but discovers that the milk has been replaced with blood (or something looking a lot like blood). Here her facial expressions and body movement are very problematic. Buckner also consistently overreacts and thus makes it very difficult to care about her character. There are a couple of sequences where Jensen is convincing, such as the genuinely intense bathtub sequence, but more often than not her lines are also unimpressive. Borgnine is the only one who consistently looks convincing, but after his initial encounter with the girls his character is essentially pushed aside and later on completely ignored.
The camera movement is often surprisingly good. The killings and some of the creepy sequences, in particular, are shot very well. However, the atmospheric finale, which is also well shot, seems completely out of sync with the rest of the narrative.
The film is complimented by a surprisingly good soundtrack courtesy of Oscar winning composer James Horner (James Cameron's Titanic and Avatar, Terrence Malick's The New World). Many of the orchestral themes effectively enhance the tense atmosphere. The strings are especially well used when the camera sees through the killer's eyes.
Note: An alternate version of Deadly Blessing was apparently released in the United Kingdom. In it the rather surprising finale is cut. Arrow Video's Blu-ray release contains the original U.S. version of the film, which runs at approximately 102 minutes.
Deadly Blessing Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Wes Craven's Deadly Blessing arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Arrow Video.
Light to moderate noise is often visible. There are select sequences where the noise even suppresses the not so evenly distributed grain (see screencapture #9). Unsurprisingly, there are detail and clarity fluctuations. Light wear and compression artifacts can also be seen (see screencapture #18). Generally speaking, the color-scheme is stable, but key colors occasionally look somewhat faded. There are also traces of extremely light sharpening corrections. Still, in motion the film has enough depth and excluding the occasional noise spikes there really aren't any serious issues that could potentially distract you. Lastly, there are no serious stability issues to address in this review. All in all, it is obvious that the high-definition transfer has been struck from a dated source. Unsurprisingly, while viewing the film one is likely to notice some of the issues noted above. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Deadly Blessing Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one standard audio track on this Blu-ray disc: English LPCM 2.0. For the record, Arrow Video have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
The lossless track serves the film well. Its dynamic amplitude is rather limited - even during the final sequence, where the monster appears, dynamic movement is quite modest - but this is because the film has a modest sound design. There are no serious balance issues with James Horner's very effective score either. Some extremely light background hiss is present, but it never becomes distracting. The dialog is very crisp, very clear and easy to follow.
Deadly Blessing Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Deadly Blessing Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Deadly Blessing is a film that should appeal primarily to longtime fans of director Wes Craven. The cast is far from impressive, but the atmosphere in the film is quite good. I was also pleasantly surprised by James Horner's score - it is simply perfect for the film. Arrow Video's release also comes with a good selection of supplemental features. I strongly recommend listening to Wes Craven's audio commentary. It is very honest, informative and entertaining. RECOMMENDED.
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Deadly Blessing Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Deadly Blessing Officially Announced - February 28, 2013
British distributors Arrow Video have officially announced and detailed their upcoming deluxe Blu-ray edition of Wes Craven's Deadly Blessing (1981), starring Maren Jensen, Sharon Stone, Douglas Barr, and Susan Buckner. The release will be available for purchase ...
• Arrow Video Announces More Titles for Release in 2013 - October 26, 2012
Next year, Arrow Video are planning to bring more genre films to Blu-ray. Officially announced and detailed are the following titles: Radley Metzger's Score and Camille 2000, Mario Bava's Black Sunday/I Vampiri and Lisa and the Devil, and Wes Craven's Deadly B ...
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