Deadly Blessing Review
The Digital Fix first reviewed Deadly Blessing when it became part of the Arrow Video range in 2010. That particular release was a DVD-only affair, though Arrow have now deemed the Wes Craven horror fit for a dual-format upgrade. For those wishing to read about the film prior to my assessment of the disc, I refer them to our previous review below…
It should be stated right at the start that Deadly Blessing isn't about the Amish. Oh no. The Hittites in the film have absolutely no resemblance to the Amish in any shape or form. Except in their dress. And their beards. And their language. And their whole lifestyle. But apart from those, the two groups have no resemblance whatsoever. The Hittites is a name which comes from the Old Testament, the most famous of them being Uriah whose wife, Bathsheba, was stolen by King David. Anyway, these Not-Amish people live in splendid isolation, refusing the use of any modern technology to farm their lands and denying their members the right to leave and transact with the outside world. Read more…
The new Arrow Video edition of Deadly Blessing is a dual-format affair (containing both DVD and Blu-ray discs) and will be released on March 25th, 2013. Reviewing the old DVD our Mike Sutton noted that it was “a shame Robert Jessup’s excellent cinematography wasn’t given the benefit of a full HD re-master”. Well, that’s exactly what we have on our hands now and it’s a mostly pleasing affair. Age has played its part meaning that the image isn’t of optimal clarity (it’s a notch or two below being very good), but the print is in a generally good shape save for moderate signs of wear and tear and the contrast levels are superb. Indeed, the disc handles the darkly lit scenes exceptionally well. Mike noted “the presence of blocky artifacts” in his review of the DVD edition, but they’re nowhere to be seen here. Grain, meanwhile, is stable and, overall, this is a fine presentation. Do note that a couple of shots look particularly ugly, though no doubt this was inherent in the original materials as opposed to any problems with the disc itself. The soundtrack is presented in LPCM stereo form and similarly comes across well. Optional subtitles for the hard-of-hearing are also available.
This new release also upgrades the extras, adding a Wes Craven commentary and interview to go alongside the previously available Michael Berryman and Glenn M. Benest chats. The commentary is excellent, with Craven making for an affable, good-natured presence and is pleasingly honest about his early work. He’s also heavy on the anecdotes – the curse of the barn, Ernest Borgnine’s on-set accident, pre-fame Sharon Stone – and has David Gregory to hand as moderator to ensure things never dwindle. If you don’t have the time for the commentary then Craven’s interview (totalling just over 12 minutes) does an excellent job of covering all of the essential material.
The Berryman chat is a more wide-ranging affair taking in everything from his dreams of becoming a vet to his thoughts on the sequels to The Hills Have Eyes. In-between times he touches on his major film appearances including Deadly Blessing. Co-writer and co-producer Benest, on the other hand, sticks to the film at hand and, as with the Craven commentary, offers up plenty of anecdotes. Rounding off the package we also find the original trailer, plus we are promised an accompanying booklet with new writings from Kim Newman.