A Deadly Legend (2020) poster

A Deadly Legend (2020)


USA. 2020.


Director – Pamela Moriarty, Screenplay – Eric Wolf, Producer – Kristen Anne Ferraro, Photography – Lars Elling Lunde, Music – Steven Reilly, Visual Effects – Platinum Platypus (Supervisor – Pete Sussi), Special Effects Supervisors – The Specialists, Ltd, Production Design – Deidra Catero. Production Company – Remcycle Media, Inc..


Kristen Anne Ferraro (Joan Huntar), Dwayne A. Thomas (Sam Jones), Eric Wolf (Mike Renfield), Corbin Bernsen (Matthias Leary), Summer Crockett Moore (Tina Jones), Andee Buccheri (Krissy Huntar), Lori Petty (Wanda Renfield), Judd Hirsch (Carl Leary), Daniella Decaro (Amy Jones), Jeffrey Doornbos (Bob Huntar), Tatiana Szpur (Luci), Jean Tree (Eva Chan/Chain Witch), Shravan Amin (Raj), Samuel Blustein (Eli Leary), David Perez-Ribada (Sheriff Jack Leary), Stephen Hauck (Chairman)


Construction firm owner Joan Huntar applies for permission from the Pilgrim Lake town council to redevelop the old abandoned summer camp. The council ignore the rantings of aging Carl Leary that this will disturb a great evil and give their approval. Joan pushes foreman Mike Renfield to immediately start work with earth-moving machinery and keep going through the weekend. As he does, Joan and several of her supporters hold a celebration up at the lodge. However, the excavation ends up disturbing something from the occult rites that were conducted around the megalith on the property back in 1720. Eva, one of the guests, is drowned in the lake only to be resurrected as the Chain Witch where she begins killing others, while a drunken Mike is possessed and goes on a murderous rampage.

A Deadly Legend was a directorial debut for Thai-born Pamela Moriarty who resides in New York State and has a number of credits as an assistant director before this.

The film’s setting is a summer camp. This leads to the initial expectation that what you are going to be watching is a Slasher FilmsFriday the 13th (1980) made the summer camp into one of the archetypal settings for the genre and numerous other works followed suit. This turns out not to be the case and in fact A Deadly Legend jumps aboard the fad for Folk Horror films that has emerged in the last few years. There are witches and suggestions of puritan rites occurring in the background, while there is much centred around activating a druidic megalith on the property.

The odd mix of elements never works. Pamela Moriarty seems to take a long time to get the Folk Horror aspect going and pads everything with scenes with a possessed Eric Wolf stumbling around the property and driving his earth mover, or of Jean Tree who is drowned early in the show and then reappears as something called the Chain Witch where she is painted white, covered in chains and has a chain tail that has a life of its own.

Corbin Bernsen as a sorcerer in A Deadly Legend (2020)
Corbin Bernsen as a sorcerer

Moriarty’s shocks are crude and amateurish. She falls for beginner mistakes like trying to create scares out of loud amplified noises on the soundtrack. A Deadly Legend has the look of being low-budget. The 18th Century scenes look cheap, none the more so than when we see characters wielding a staff with a glowing crystal on it like something out of a tatty 1980s sword-and-sorcery film, or scenes where people turn up with glowing eyes. The photography renders everything a dreary muddy brown.

The cast line-up features one or two names with recognition value. Corbin Bernsen has the largest role as an antique store proprietor who waves around the crystal staff. A very aged Judd Hirsch turns up as the equivalent of Friday the 13th’s Crazy Ralph issuing wild-eyed warnings about not stirring the forces at the camp. The most bizarre performance comes from Lori Petty as the wife of the foreman where she spends most of the film getting drunk and then verbally mouthing off at him, while making a head-scratching left field appearance in an asylum ward in the final scene. Lead actress Kristen Anne Ferraro also produces the film. She’s okay although is costumed throughout in a series of low cut tops that amply reveals her very well-endowed chest measurements in a way that actually proves distracting to every scene she appears in.

Trailer here

Actors: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Themes: , , , ,