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Deadly Blessing [UK] Blu-ray Review

deadly-blessing-UK-blu-ray-DVD-CoverUnited-Kingdom-Flag-Orb-Icon-32px

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Certificate: 15
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Run Time: 118 Mins.
  • Studio: Arrow Films
  • Blu-ray Release Date: March 25, 2013
  • List Price: £19.99

 

Overall
[Rating:2/5]
The Film
[Rating:1.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(The below TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

 

The Film

[Rating:1.5/5]

Deadly-Blessing-UK-BD_01

This dull 1981 horror exercise from director Wes Craven (Scream; A Nightmare on Elm Street) concerns itself with a rural religious order similar to the Amish and/or Hutterites and a group of three women who must battle them. Unfortunately, apart from several scene-stealing performances from Ernest Borgnine as a fire-and-brimstone minister and the appearances of a young Sharon Stone as one of the three female friends, and the always recognizable character actor Michael Berryman, Deadly Blessing is a confused and dull mess of a horror film.

The screenplay from Glenn M. Benest, Matthew Barr, and Craven is unable to decide if it wants to focus on the religiosity of the story, the struggle against religious oppression, and the demonic aspects of the odd deaths occurring, or more straightforward jump scenes, scares, and slasher elements that allude to Craven’s earlier work on A Nightmare on Elm Street. As a result, the film lacks focus and quickly becomes ho-hum, boring, superficial, and somewhat nonsensical.

We are set up from the beginning when main character Martha (Maren Jensen) is widowed after her husband, a disowned member of the religious order, is mysteriously killed in the couple’s barn. From that point on, odd deaths begin to occur on the property, and when her two friends (Stone and Susan Buckner) arrive from Los Angeles, the three women are subjected to constant harassment from the locals and a slew of strange occurrences – odd dreams, spiders, and the like. The local Elder (Borgnine) believes Martha to be an incubus causing all the deaths, but Craven’s story also implies there may be a serial killer on the loose killing for, well, who knows why? While there is a certain atmosphere and ambience to the film that imparts a classic horror feel, it never invokes any real scares, even in the most obvious scenes designed to do just so. One scene in particular finds Sharon Stone freaking out in the barn for no apparent reason over some spiderwebs and weird noises and another has a snake slithering into a tub with Maren Jensen. They are both more campy than scary and are indicative of the issues with the film on the whole.

Video Quality

[Rating:2.5/5]

Deadly-Blessing-UK-BD_02

A 1.78:1 framed AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement is offered up on Blu-ray from Arrow that is passable, but hardly reference material. We’ve certainly seen far better catalogue releases on Blu-ray for films from the same era, even in the horror genre. This one is plagued with softness, graininess, and noise in the darker areas of the image. Blacks are a bit washed out at times, and color reproduction is anything but vibrant.

Audio Quality

[Rating:2.5/5]

Deadly-Blessing-UK-BD_03

The film’s original mono track is provided in a rather boxy sounding LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit) track that has quite a bit of audible clipping in the dialogue during louder passages.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3.5/5]

Deadly-Blessing-UK-BD_04

The release comes with a typical slate of supplements from Arrow, including an informative and conversational audio commentary from Wes Craven, a few HD interviews, and collectible sleeve and booklet.

The supplements:

  • DVD – Standard DVD of the feature film included in this Combo Pack/Dual Format release.
  • Audio commentary with director Wes Craven
  • Introduction by Michael Berryman
  • The Deadliest Director – Wes Craven (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:12:25) – An interview with Wes Craven
  • Craven Images – The Horror Hits of Michael Berryman (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:28:45) – An interview with the iconic star of Deadly Blessing, Michael Berryman.
  • Deadly Desires (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:14:24) – An interview with screenwriter Glenn M. Benest
  • Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
  • Reversible Sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin
  • Collector’s Booklet featuring writing on the film by author and critic Kim Newman

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:2/5]

 Deadly-Blessing-UK-BD_05

Deadly Blessing is a flat, lackluster film that came during a transitional period for its director Wes Craven. He was moving from his early slasher period and his more commercial phase of the 80s and 90s, and this film could not find its place between being a topical horror film or a straight up slasher piece. Craven mavens might still find some things to enjoy here, but for the rest of us, this one is easy to take a pass on.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B009WRCEYW[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

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[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B009WRCEYW[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Overall
[Rating:2/5]
The Film
[Rating:1.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

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