A DEADLY LEGEND is a pretty straightforward B movie horror flick about a real estate developer who buys a haunted/cursed campground. She and her crew go up to the site to start construction and calamity ensues. The movie doesn’t break new ground (pun intended) in the genre, but it it mixes in enough humor (most of which is intentional), creative ways to kill people, and twists to keep things interesting. A DEADLY LEGEND’s biggest innovation is the fact that there are two opposing supernatural forces, both of which pose a threat to the people up at the camp (who coincidentally can’t get a cell signal … and the phone lines are out).
The most amazing thing about the movie is who they managed to get into it. Sprinkled amongst a mostly unknown cast are three heavy hitters. Judd Hirsch (Independence Day, Taxi) expertly plays the curmudgeonly town eccentric. Corbin Bernsen (Major League, Psych) plays the guy whose family used to own the cursed campground. Lori Petty may not be a household name, but she’s starred in Tank Girl, A League of Their Own, and Free Willy. These actors have legit resumes. I assumed going in that they might have one line or they might just mail it in for a paycheck, but that is not the case. They all had parts stretching across multiple scenes. Bernsen is clearly having fun with his role. Petty plays the most random character of all time, but I pretty much cracked up every time she was on the screen.
While I laughed out loud a lot, there were some genuinely creepy parts and some nice jump scares. While the acting could be a bit uneven, the movie developed most of the characters enough to care about them as they were killed (which is essential for a scary movie). Kudos to writer Eric Wolf (who also plays a pretty major role in the movie) for coming up with inventive ways to kill people off.
If you go into A DEADLY LEGEND expecting the gloss of a Hollywood blockbuster, you will be disappointed. But if you take it for what it is, a lower budget independent film that doesn’t take itself too seriously, it is a pleasurable way to spend an evening, especially if you can watch with others so you can add your own commentary and play a drinking game built around every time someone drinks or talks about beer.
Grade (on a curve): B
A DEADLY LEGEND is now available on some VOD services with more services to be available on July 24th.