Deadly Blessing (1981)

deadly blessing poster 1981 movie wes craven
5.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 6/10
Visual: 5/10

Wes Craven, Sharon Stone

So-so script, not enough scares

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Deadly Blessing

Studio:  PolyGram Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  August 14, 1981

MPAA Rating:  R

deadly blessing hittites graveyard

Cultish religious worshippers are scary…right?

When Jim Schmidt (Douglas Barr) left the Hittites and his family for Martha (Maren Jensen), his father Isaiah (Ernest Borgnine) declared him dead to the family. Jim is struck by tragedy and Martha finds herself alone and in charge of the farm. Visited by her friends Lana (Sharon Stone) and Vicky (Susan Buckner), Martha finds going against the Hittites who have branded her and her friends agents of the Incubus could be dangerous…and someone or something wants them dead.

Directed by Wes Craven (who also helped craft the script), Deadly Blessing is a horror suspense thriller. The was released to mixed to negative reviews and a earned Ernest Borgnine a Razzie nomination for Worst Supporting Actor.

Wes Craven is a horror icon, but as an icon and a director, he’s subject to criticism and potential failure. I hadn’t seen Deadly Blessing, but with the number of Wes Craven films that I haven’t seen limited, I wanted to work on “finishing” his work…unfortunately, Deadly Blessing isn’t one of his better films.

deadly blessing sharon stone spider

It’s no Basic Instinct…

I like some of what Deadly Blessing does. It sets up the idea that the murderer is a bit of a mystery. Is it the Hittites led by Borgnine, is it Sharon Stone’s character, or is it the crazed mother-daughter combo of Lisa Hartman and Lois Nettleton. You don’t know much of the movie until the mystery is (kind of) unraveled…it then leads into a surprise ending which cements a supernatural storyline that was also developing within the context of the movie.

The cast isn’t that bad. Borgnine took hits for his Amish-esque character, but he didn’t really have much choice in his direction with the casting (plus, I picture the character a bit wooden). Sharon Stone has a young appearance as the spider possessed Lana (which is part of what the film is remembered for) while Maren Jensen is solid as the lead who is being tortured. Unfortunately for everyone, it seems like there are too many characters in this movie and no one seems to get completely developed. Craven vet Michael Berryman unfortunately gets knocked off pretty early in the film and could have been more fun.

deadly blessing ending incubus

Yeah…a monster for a few seconds!

The visuals for the movie are also underplayed. The movie is essentially a cult horror movie (for most of the movie) and the Hittites could have really been played up which also would have cast doubt on the killer’s identity. There are some so-so dream sequences and the last scene is really low budget and feels more unnecessary than shocking or scary.

Deadly Blessing is what it is. It is a relatively low-budget horror film that is mildly entertaining. The biggest gift it has is the Sharon Stone ties and Wes Craven’s lasting success…otherwise it is pretty forgettable. It isn’t very scary and it isn’t very thriller…Deadly Blessing feels more like a time filler.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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