Wes Craven, USA, 1986, 91 min.
Deadly Friend has a tumultuous production history. Wes Craven wanted to make a psychological thriller and the studio wanted to up the horror and gore to capitalize on the Wes Craven brand. What results is some of both and not enough of either.
Based on the novel Friend by Diana Henstell, this is story of wiz-kid Paul who has invented artificial intelligence in the brain of his friendly robot BB. BB looks like a 1980’s robot but can do everything from fighting off a group of thugs to playing basketball.
Paul has moved to a new town with his mother and quickly makes friends with the local paperboy and the girl next door. The latter he also quickly falls in love with. But there is a problem: her father. He’s an abusive drunk who doesn’t even let her leave the house let along visit with friends.
Things get worse and worse for Paul and everyone around him until events occur that cause him to have to perform outrageous scientific feats in order to save the women he loves. Morality be damned!
His mad-doctor plan works, or so it seems. What follows in the third act is a a monster movie of sorts and contains one of best gore effects of the film. You’ll know it when you see it.
The direction of the film is a bit spotty. There are some great sequences but overall it is a bit devoid of style. Probably a result of the behind-the-scenes tug of war. Props to Kristy Swanson in her first role who did a great job with this strange material.
Overall this a fun movie full of potential that was never quite realized. It’s entertaining in a quirky dated way. If the idea of watching an 80’s film that has the above robot in it appeals to you, then you won’t be disappointed.