Deadly Blessing

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After her husband dies under mysterious circumstances, a widow becomes increasingly paranoid of the neighboring religious community that may have diabolical plans for her. A gruesome secret, protected for generations, rises to give its…

ACTORS :  Maren Jensen, Sharon Stone, Susan Buckner

YEAR OF RELEASE :  1981

POSTAGE : Free postage within Australia

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Deadly Blessing  A former Hittite (a member of an Amish-like sect) dies in a mysterious tractor “accident”, and his widow is left to face the frightening Hittites who view her as “the incubus” and may have sinister designs on her.

One of Craven’s best

Deadly Blessing  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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