Deer Woman (2005)

DVD Cover (Anchor Bay)
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Overall Rating 62%
Overall Rating
Ranked #4,402
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A harried, burned-out cop believes that a recent string of murders prove that the murderer might be a deer-like creature in the form of a beautiful woman right from a local Native America folklore legend. --IMDb
Walter High
Walter High
Michael P. Northey
Michael P. Northey
Brian Benben
Brian Benben
Anthony Griffith
Anthony Griffith
John Destry
John Destry
Review by Chad
Added: July 12, 2006
In one particular scene of this movie, leading man Dwight Faraday (Brian Benben) lays in his bed and contemplates what could have turned a couple of murder victims into hamburger meat and leave deer hoof-prints imprinted into their corpses. We get to watch his ideas played out as he considers them, and the final thought to run through this man's head is that it could have been a deer-man (dressed in jeans and a flannel shirt) who beats a trucker to death before making off into the woods with his girlfriend. Now, I sort of figured that it wouldn't be a man (considering the title of the film) and I didn't expect it to be a full-out comedy, but this scene is actually something along the lines of what I was expecting from this release; I mean, c'mon - a half-woman, half-deer killer? Thankfully, it was handled much better than that.

The storyline found here is very simple, and I actually spelled most of it out in my introduction. Dwight is a police detective who is called to a crime scene, and upon arriving, he finds the remains of what the nearby gawkers suspect to be a human; however, nobody can say for certain since the body is so horribly mangled. After an autopsy is performed, we learn that this man (as well as the next couple of victims) all died in a state of sexual arousal, and they all had traces of deer hair and DNA on them. The obvious question here, though, is how would a deer manage to get a couple of guys horny and then kill them?

The title of the film answers that question simply enough, but it was still damned interesting to watch as the storyline and explanations unraveled. We watch as Dwight and his sidekick Jacob Reed (Anthony Griffith) piece together the puzzle that is this case, and although we at home know who's actually responsible, the interaction between these two men coupled with the excellent directing skills of John Landis turned what could have been a lame Sci-Fi premiere into one of the best episodes of Masters Of Horror thus far.

What makes this film work so well is the fact that it's not a straight-forward horror flick. Yes, it's part of the Masters Of Horror series, but save for a couple of gore scenes and the ending, this is more of a comedic thriller than anything. The scene I mentioned above is one such example of the humor to be found here, and there's a good deal more of the same to be found as the movie progresses. Landis apparently knew that the idea of a deer-woman murderer probably wouldn't make for a serious horror film, and thankfully, he acted accordingly with the script.

Now, that's not to say that this film is devoid of horror; no sir, there is some to be found, especially towards the end when the detectives figure out what we at home have known before even beginning to watch the episode. When they realize what they have on their hands and have to figure out a way to combat this, it actually makes for some pretty chilling scenes. Sure, it's not a shit-your-pants horror classic, but it's much better than I would have expected given the premise.

As I mentioned, one of the best elements of the film was the interactions between the detectives. Brian Benben is perfect in his lead role, and he plays all the elements of his character with ease. He's the source of laughs, some drama, and he's on the reactionary side of the horror, yet he manages to play each of these aspects flawlessly - something that is no easy task for any actor, but especially difficult to convincingly pull off in an hour-long film. Anthony Griffith is the other half of this detective team, and although he doesn't get as much time to shine as Benben, he still manages to make each scene that he's in that much better with his on screen presence. Some more lines for him would have been great, in my humble opinion, but I can understand the timing concerns. Finally, we have Cinthia Moura, the lady that plays the deer woman herself. This woman doesn't get a single speaking line in the movie, but instead, shows all of her emotions with her face. This film was her debut as an actress, but you sure couldn't tell it by watching the film; she does an excellent job with the role, and her abilities here show that you don't always needs words to tell a story.

Overall, this was a highly-worthy entry into the Masters Of Horror series, and it definitely deserves a watching by fans of comedic horror / thrillers. The premise is silly at first glance, but don't let that stop you from checking out this gem of a film. 8/10.
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 07/12/2006, 04:22 PM
In total agreement. This was one of the better entries into the "Masters of Horror" series. I have always been a huge John Landis fan and consider him to be one of the most underrated directors out there. I remember Brian Benben from the HBO series "Dream On", which my mother use to watch all the time, which means I use to watch it all the time. Brian Benben taught me about the birds and the bees. Very nice film. 8/10.
Ganon #2: Ganon - added 07/18/2006, 08:56 AM
That scene you talked about at the start was fucking hilarious, this is easily my favourite Masters of Horror.
Christopher #3: Christopher - added 10/03/2006, 07:14 AM
Some broad roams arounds turning into a deer and killing folks. That's nice, but why? Whatever, let's see what happens next. Okay, she can run fast, sure, she has some deer in her. Now she can leap over tall buildings, a bit too much there. Now she's imune to bullets, WHAT?! Cars crushing her into trees seem to have no effect either. Now she's picking up cars and winging them into folks, HUH?! She would have been more fit fighting villians while wearing a red and blue outfit with a cape and a gigantic D on her chest. Full Moon would have pulled this release off twenty times better than a horror series.
Chad #4: Chad - added 10/03/2006, 03:59 PM
Fourth paragraph, hater.
Tristan #5: Tristan - added 11/09/2007, 08:12 PM
Yep, one of the better ones from season one. There's not much in this to consider it a horror film, it's more of a comedy. Especially the sequence in which Faraday imagines the various scenarios that might have taken place. I was laughing hysterically the entire time. Not sure if anyone else noticed, but there was a nice American Werewolf reference thrown in. 7/10
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