[UK] Deadly Blessing Blu-Ray Review

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When Martha marries Tom, she leaves her LA lifestyle behind and the pair settle down on an isolated farm. Before entering wedlock, Tom was part of a close-knit sect known as ‘Hittite’, a hardcore working community who think all modern machinery is work of the devil. Martha feels shunned by the Hittite members and is treated as an outsider by its fanatical members.

When Tom is mysteriously and tragically killed by a tractor, things take a much darker turn. After Tom’s funeral, and against the wishes of Hittite’s terrifying leader, Isaiah Schmidt, Martha decides to remain living on the farm. Her sophisticated LA friends Lana and Vicky come to visit in an attempt to keep Martha company and cheer her up.

Shortly after Martha’s friends arrive, strange, scary and horrifying things begin happening to the three girls, who remain outlawed by the Hittite people. Against the advice of the local sheriff, they stay and attempt to fight their corner. Plagued by nightmares and fearing for their lives, they face the violent fury and retribution of an old time religion running out of control.

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Arrow brings this Wes Craven classic onto Blu-Ray in a 1.78:1 1080p AVC MPEG4 encode, and the print is in brilliant shape. I’ve never seen the film before so cannot compare it to the DVD release, but I was amazed at how good the print looks on this release, especially considering the age of the film.

Colours are very bright and look fantastic on screen. The bright blue sky is vibrant and daytime scenes looks great, the same with the night scenes. The black levels add great depth to the film and draw you in with that creepy feeling that danger is looming. Detail is very good, again considering the age of the film. Close up shots show great detail on the actors, in some cases even showing just how much make-up the women are wearing or the fake beard applied to Ernest Borgnine’s face.

There was some motion blur during quick moving scenes, but this wasn’t very noticeable and didn’t occur too often to be off-putting. There seems to have been very little DNR applied, which leaves a nice grain structure on the print, which is preferential to me. The picture is soft, yet the detail remains that makes the presentation possibly the best it will ever look.

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Only the one track from Arrow on the release, English LPCM 2.0 Mono. Don’t let this put you off though, as this audio track very good. Dialogue comes across as very natural sounding, effects add punch and rarely sound distorted. Gun shots and tractor engines add a slight bit of bass to the soundtrack, but nothing major. I did notice a slight background hiss, but dropping the volume slightly soon got rid of this.

Horner’s score for the movie is fantastic and haunting. The lingering strings really add intensity and bring you into the movie waiting for that next scare.

The US disc does have a 5.1 track, but the LPCM track is certainly no lightweight, and not one to be snubbed.

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As always Arrow have done yet another fine job of bringing some fantastic extras to add to a great release.

* Introduction by Michael Berryman – A short introduction before the film plays
* Audio Commentary with director Wes Craven
* Deadliest Director: Interview with Wes Craven (13 mins, HD) – Albeit short, but an informative look with Wes Craven into the inspiration and development of the film
* The Horror Hits of Michael Berryman (29 mins, HD) – Michael Berryman is great in this interview! Whilst talking about his large movie career, Michael Berryman talks about the movie making business, and how it’s full of Prima donnas, resentment and underhanded film makers
* Deadly Desires: Interview with Glen M Benest (15 mins, HD) – Quite similar to Wes’ interview, we hear about Glen’s development on the movie with regards to writing and locations
* Collector’s booklet – Features writing on the film by author and critic Kim Newman
* Reversible sleeve – With original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin

Overall the extras are great, but I would’ve loved to have seen the interview with Michael Berryman be a lot longer as it only scratches the surface of the life he has lead. I would’ve also liked to have seen some material with the late great Ernest Borgnine, but of course that would’ve been very hard to accomplish.

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Being a big fan of one of horror’s maestros, I was very pleased to see this land through the letterbox as I had never seen it before and had acquired quite a taste for some more Wes Craven horror as I had recently watch all of the Nightmare On Elm Street movies back to back.

This was different to what I was expecting, especially after watching Freddy and of course remembering Scream, but I could certainly see early signs of the latter in Deadly Blessing and must admit I thoroughly enjoyed it! The film is one that I would definatly show to my other horror friends who may not have heard of this. Some scenes will certainly linger with you for a while, most notably the snake in the bath scene and a young Sharon Stone swallowing a spider! Whilst it does’t have the shock value that it may have had back when it was released in the early 80’s as the ideas from the film have been rehashed over and over, that’s not to say it won’t entertain and make you feel uncomfortable. Deadly blessing looks to bridge the gap between Wes Craven’s hard hitting and more experimental early films, and the breakout success of his more commercial films from his later work.

Arrow have done a great job on bringing this Wes Craven classic to Blu-Ray. A top notch picture and great sound, this is undoubtedly the best Deadly Blessing will ever look and sound, with a great wealth of exclusive extras that will keep all horror fans very happy. Well done Arrow!

 

Purchase your copy here

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKQkF-j_RnM

About the author

SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER | Matt is a huge movie fan with a big passion for all the 80s cheesy Action movies. Anything Arnold Schwarzenegger related is an instant hit too! Also a UK Blu-ray reviewer for Hi-Def Ninja and UK Editorial Manager.