DEADLY BLESSING IS ONE of those movies that appear to have fallen completely off the radar. Craven himself has stated that whenever he mentioned this being one of his movies, he was met with blank stares.
It seems fairly odd that this would occur as Craven’s profile would grow, and it stars Sharon Stone in her first speaking role in a movie, but perhaps when put into connection with the negative reviews that the film would receive at the time coupled with Ernest Borgnine (Escape From New York, The Wild Bunch) getting a “Razzie” nomination for Worst Supporting Actor for his efforts.
Upon review the critical response feels a little harsh.
So, why the negativity?
Well, a lot of it has to do with the strong religious message that is firmly stamped all over it, with Borgnine’s character, Isaiah preaching the word throughout the entire movie.
When you look past this though there are some elements that prove fruitful and there’s enough ticking along to keep you wondering who or what is behind the foul play that is taking place.
And for keen horror enthusiasts there is a lot at play here that would feel familiar to Wes Craven’s A Nightmare On Elm Street in some of the shots that he would produce.
Most notably in the bath scene when a snake protrudes from between Martha’s legs ala Freddy’s glove. Although in this instance it’s a far more phallic image.
The cast pulls off a fairly adequate performance with Maren Jensen known for her role as Athena in the original Battlestar Galactica. Taking on the lead heroine, Martha.
Stone’s performance is also notable, but perhaps more so for the scene in the barn, which creates enough ambience to feel sinister and certainly feels as though Arachnophobia lifted a few shots and ideas from this scene.
Craven regular (Michael Berryman) also makes an appearance as William.
The movie certainly doesn’t deserve to be admonished and definitely warrants a viewing.
With old horror movies providing Hollywood execs with source material, Deadly Blessing has the chops to be revisited.
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– Paul Farrell