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Wes Craven
Matthew Labyorteaux, Kristy Swanson, Michael Sharrett
Bruce Joel Rubin

After his friend is killed by her abusive father, the new kid in town attempts to save her by implanting a robotic microchip into her brain.
Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 91 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 10/12/2021

• “Hey Sam, Nice Shot” Featurette
• “Written in Blood” Featurette
• “Robots, Ramsey and Revenge” Featurette
• “Samantha’s Symphony” Featurette
• Trailers & TV Spots


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Deadly Friend [Blu-Ray] (1986)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 21, 2021)

12 years after his cinematic debut with 1972’s Last House on the Left, Wes Craven finally scored an actual hit movie via 1984’s Nightmare on Elm Street. For Craven’s follow-up to Nightmare, he created another horror flick: 1986’s Deadly Friend.

Though still high school age, Paul Conway (Matthew Labyorteaux) shows genius-level intelligence. This allows Paul to develop “BB”, his own personal robot – and nearly the lonely teen’s only friend.

New in town, Paul also manages to befriend pretty girl next door Samantha Pringle (Kristy Swanson). When her abusive father Harry (Richard Marcus) kills her, a grief-stricken Paul attempts to use his technical savvy to bring Samantha back to life. This brings perilous consequences along with it.

As mentioned, Nightmare turned into Craven’s first hit, but he would need to wait 12 more years before he’d score another box office success. Between Nightmare and 1996’s Scream, Craven struggled to generate ticket sales.

In the span between 1984 and 1996, not a single Craven movie managed to gross even $20 million in the US. Not even 1995’s Vampire in Brooklyn - a collaboration with Eddie Murphy – or 1994’s well-reviewed Elm Street semi-reboot New Nightmare found real audiences.

Of the bunch, Friend fared the worst financially, as it didn’t even crack the $9 million line. Honestly, until the Blu-ray landed on my door, I don’t even know if I ever heard of the movie – it must’ve come and gone without much ado in 1986.

I can’t call the film’s obscure status a tragedy, though, as I can’t find much here to make it seem like a forgotten gem. While aspects of the story show promise, the end result seems muddled and dull.

As a twist on the Frankenstein narrative, Friend does come with potential. It creates a few intriguing notions.

Unfortunately, it does little with these. Friend comes across as a clumsy mix of Frankenstein, Short Circuit, Gremlins and Risky Business, without much charm of its own.

Perhaps if Craven produced a more steady narrative, he might handle the genre shifts. However, Friend jumps about and lacks much clarity or smoothness.

This leaves us with scenes that butt into each other without the needed fluidity. The movie’s editing feels clumsy and awkward.

All of this leaves us with a movie that never becomes scary, engaging or especially appealing, and a ludicrous ending doesn’t help. Despite some positive elements, the end result offers a slow, dull 91 minutes.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus C+

Deadly Friend appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I didn’t expect much from the transfer, so I was pleased by the pretty positive results.

Sharpness was usually good. A little softness affected wider shots, but any lack of definition was typical for films of this one’s era. Overall clarity appeared solid.

I saw no jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also failed to cause issues, so I saw a couple of small specks but nothing more than that.

With a fairly natural palette, the colors of Friend worked pretty well. Though they occasionally showed some “80s murkiness”, I thought the hues generally came across as full and concise.

Blacks were mostly dark and firm, and low-light shots offered reasonable clarity. No one will view this as a demo film, but given the era in which it was made, the end result satisfied.

Similar feelings greeted the decent DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack of Friend. Audio quality seemed dated but fine, with speech that appeared reasonably natural and concise, with minimal edginess.

Music presented more than adequate range and depth, and effects showed good clarity and accuracy. As with the picture, nothing here excelled, but the soundtrack held up well enough.

A few extras fill out the disc, and Hey Sam, Nice Shot provides a nine-minute, 26-second interview with actor Kristy Swanson. She discusses her role, her performance and aspects of the shoot. Swanson offers a decent selection of observations.

Written in Blood runs eight minutes, 11 seconds and brings a chat with writer Bruce Joel Rubin. He covers the adaptation of the source novel as well as elements of his screenplay/rewrites and the production. This turns into another generally informative reel.

Next comes Robots, Ramsey and Revenge, a five-minute, two-second piece with effects artist Lance Anderson. He examines the execution of the movie’s BB character along with gore scenes. We find a short but reasonably informative piece.

In addition to four trailers and five TV spots, the disc concludes with Samantha’s Symphony, an eight-minute, 23-second interview with composer Charles Bernstein. He tells us about his music for Friend and gives us some good notes.

Wes Craven’s follow-up to A Nightmare on Elm Street, 1986’s Deadly Friend turns into a forgettable stab at horror. The movie shows some potential but it fails to find an interesting way to tell the story. The Blu-ray comes with generally good picture and audio as well as a few bonus materials. Craven fans will want to check out Friend for its historical value, but they shouldn’t expect much from it.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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