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Deadly Friend (1986)

DVD Cover (Warner Brother)
Genres:
Crime, Horror, Sci-Fi Horror, Thriller
Director:
Wes Craven Wes Craven
Starring:
Matthew Labyorteaux Matthew Labyorteaux
Kristy Swanson Kristy Swanson
Michael Sharrett Michael Sharrett
Anne Twomey Anne Twomey
Anne Ramsey Anne Ramsey

5.5 / 10 - Overall Rating

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After his friend is killed by her abusive father, the new kid in town attempts to save her by implanting robotic microchips into her brain. --IMDb
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: April 26, 2007
For some reason, Wes Craven has been on my mind a lot lately. I have been re-watching a lot of his old films that I have on VHS -- everything from "Chiller" to "Shocker" -- just about anything he touched in the 1980's. One of his most forgotten films was the 1986 horror film "Deadly Friend". This was a film that was released with minimal buzz and made even less money at the box office, strange when you consider that Craven had released the smash hit "A Nightmare On Elm Street" just two years prior. However, Craven has a tendency to follow up what most would consider to be a good film with what most people would consider to be a dud. He followed up "A Nightmare On Elm Street" with a TV-movie and a pitiful sequel to "The Hills Have Eyes". So, when "Deadly Friend" was released in the states, Craven had already cooled off enough to ensure minimal box office returns.

This film has kind of a fairy tale feel to it, with a nightmarish core. When Paul Conway (Matthew Laborteaux), a geek in every sense of the word, moves into town, he doesn't have many friends; well, except for a robot named B.B. that Paul created (voiced by Charles Fleischer). Paul & B.B. do everything together, that is until they meet Samantha (Kristy Swanson), an abused young girl who immediately makes a connection with Paul. The three of them become instant friends and start doing everything together. Then, one night, Samantha's father, in a drunken rage, pushes her down the stairs and kills her, devastating Paul and sending a strike of vengeance into him. He takes out B.B.'s brain and implants it into Sam's, turning her into the walking dead -- a living, breathing killing machine that will stop at nothing to kill as many people as possible.

Plot sounds pretty lame, right? Well, it is. "Deadly Friend" is not one of Wes Craven's best films. In fact, in the long run, it's probably one of his worst. However, it is a classic 1980's horror film and it does have its merits. Craven does a nice job of developing these characters and making us feel for them, adding a dramatic human element to the film that most horror picture's tend to overlook. The film also boasts a fine cameo from Anne Ramsey as an elderly woman who always steals basketballs and baseballs from the neighborhood kids. She receives her horror film comeuppance in a most satisfying way (dribble, dribble).

Though it is not one of Craven's best films, "Deadly Friend" does not deserve to be forgotten the way it has been. In order to appreciate the outstanding work of any director, we also have to appreciate the good things about his lesser films. "Deadly Friend" had good intentions, was scripted by Bruce Joel Rubin ("Ghost", "Jacob's Ladder"), and features some memorable scenes. At the end of the day, it's 1980's horror cheese, but the film has a lot of fun, throws in some comedy and some human drama -- and some Anne Ramsey. At the very least, check this one out again. The film also helped launch a lot of teenage boy's crushes on Kristy Swanson, way before her "Buffy" days kicked off. 6/10.
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