Wes Craven’s ‘Deadly Friend’: It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone’s Cranium Explodes (review)

Paul (Matthew Labyorteaux) is a super-smart teenage boy whose best friend is a robot named BB (voiced by Charles Fleischer). Upon his move to a new town, he makes friends with his next-door neighbor, the comely Sam (Kristy Swanson). When Sam’s abusive father throws her down a flight of stairs she ends up on life support, which she’s soon unplugged from. Paul gets the brilliant idea of giving her BB’s brain and bringing her back to life. Alas, soon Sam is an uncontrollable revenge-taking machine, turning on anyone who ever hurt her or Paul.

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“Malfunction. Need input.”

I first saw this as a child, and the tongue-in-cheek quality of the movie was lost on me. There’s the bully who laughs evilly and shouts, “I’ll get you!” Then there’s the cranky neighbor (Anne Ramsay–yes, the evil lady from The Goonies) who catches a basketball from Sam, which causes the old bat’s head to blow up for some reason. (It’s never explained in the film how a chip in Sam’s brain gives her super strength.)

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“Your basketball skills blow my mind!”

The tone is all over the place; at times it feels like a goofy ’80s romantic comedy with a robot, but it does have plenty of somber moments, particularly the child abuse scenes, and an episode or two of eeriness. Swanson gives a great creepy performance as a dead girl resurrected—reminiscent of Max Schreck in Nosferatu. She doesn’t even blink. Give it a look if you’re in the mood for some mid-’80s Wes Craven.

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“No disassemble BB and put brain in Sam!”

Published by GhoulieJoe

I wuvs the horror movies and like to write snarky reviews about them. I also included some pretentious as hell microfiction (don't worry, it's at the bottom).

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