Director: Wes Craven
Starring: Matthew Laborteaux, Kristy Swanson, Michael Sharrett, Anne Twomey, Anne Ramsey
She can’t live without you
Paul Conway is a young brainiac who has been able to develop artificial intelligence and use his knowledge to create a robot that he calls B.B., who is able to learn new skills and communicate with Paul and other humans.
Paul, his mother and B.B. moves to a new city where Paul has gotten a good job at the local college to further explore his knowledge. His world is soon turn upside down when he has to deal with the loss of both B.B. and his new friend Samantha. He refuses to accept the death of his two best friends and decide to use his knowledge to try to bring them both back… with Samantha’s dead body as the vehicle.
Wes Craven has always been a hit or miss horror director who will deliver one or two great films per decade, but also a big amount of crappy ones. Deadly Friend, based on a novel by Diana Henstell called Friend and I guess Deadly was put in front to make it seem more horror.
Which does make sense, cause even though this is from the director who gave us The Hills Have Eyes and Nightmare on Elm Street, Deadly Friend isn’t about horror, gore or shock. It is a story about friendship, romance and dealing with loosing someone close to you. The story however does get muddled in this film with some unnecessary horror scenes mixed into it. I do wonder if the end result of this film was what Craven set out to do or if there was studio interference who just wanted to cash in on his rising fame with the Freddy craze of the time, cause even with his poor efforts they are usually told much better than Deadly Friend.
The main character in the film is the brainiac Paul, played by Matthew Labyorteux. He is something as rare as an 80’s nerd with decent social skills. The story centers around him and his loss of friends, although we don’t get to experience his emotions, but rather just watch his actions and that did make me second guess some of the things he decides to do since it comes off very egotistical.
His love interest is Samantha, played by the lovely Kristy Swanson. Samantha is a very different type of love interest for a geek in teen films of the 80’s and it is a very refreshing character until she becomes a cyborg/robot or whatever she can be called. Then she becomes very silly to watch, making robotic moves like she is pretending to be a Terminator or something of the sorts. I also didn’t feel much chemistry between these two main characters and that makes it harder to care for the lost love that makes Paul go over the edge.
Deadly Friend doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. It tries to mix teen romance and horror, but ends up failing on both levels. It reeks of bad decisions from people in the higher-ups or just poor decision making by Wes Craven. It could have been a sweet love story, but ends up being a messy and at times cheesy forgettable movie.