If there is one thing that I dearly love, it’s a good witch movie. And one thing that you can say about Pamela Moriarty’s feature film debut film, A Deadly Legend, is that, well … there are witches in it. the film stars Lori Petty (Tank Girl 1995), Corbin Bernsen (Tales From The Hood 1995 – read our review here), Judd Hirsch (A Beautiful Mind 2001), Kristen Anne Ferraro (She Came From the Woods 2017), Jeffrey Doornbos (I Hate The Man In My Basement 2020), and Tatiana Szpur (Through the Wide Gate 2018).
Joan Huntar, a real estate developer, buys an old summer camp. However, the property has a dark history of supernatural worship and human sacrifice. A celebration weekend turns deadly when construction uncovers the mythical Stonehenge of America. Deadly spirits are awakened and kill to gain control of this supernatural gateway. Unable to escape, Joan and her family must fight for survival and defeat the spirits from beyond.
The film starts simply enough, with Joan Huntar (Ferraro) winning her request to start developing her new property. Local townsman Carl Turner (an always delightful Judd Hirsch) flips out, spouting tales about an evil buried there that rises every 50 years. Conveniently, some random girls have special powers over magic stones, and then there are visions, and spirits. Like I said, A Dark Legend STARTS simply enough, but at some point, it turns into a complicated mess. Somewhere along the way, your average viewer will check out.
Now, please don’t take my criticism of this overly complicated plot as an inability or unwillingness on my part to follow such a story. A similar story was told—and brilliantly so—in the Russian film, Night Watch. The difference there was that the characters were fully fleshed out, and the plot was presented in a clear, concise way, despite its crazy trappings.
The acting is hit and miss for the most part. The notable exceptions are Hirsch and Lori Petty’s delightful turn as the drunken Wanda Pearson. They certainly seem to be the only ones enjoying themselves. While the scenery is absolutely beautiful, the gore is nearly non-existent, so be forewarned, gorehounds.
There is one part of A Deadly Legend that was pretty great, where a grizzled Corbin Bernsen—crystal staff in hand—leads a bedraggled group through the woods to fight the “evil witch.” Each person clutches a gun or knife, with one holding a trash can lid like a shield. The group resembles less a rescue party and more a LARPing group out on any given Saturday. Moments like this are why I watch low budget horror films.
So honestly, A Deadly Legend did itself no favors by making its legend so complicated. Because of this, and its lack of gore, I am recommending to give this one a pass.