Director – John Landis
Cast – Brian Benben, Anthony Griffith, Cinthia Moura, Sonja Bennett, Julian Christopher, Don Thompson, Alex Zahara
Release Year – 2005
Reviewed by John of the Dead
While I enjoyed his second entry, Family, a lot more, John Landis’s Deer Woman was still an interesting watch with its unique plot accompanied with Landis’s fantastic direction. Looking for a horror film with a plot never before employed in the genre? Look no further than Deer Woman.
This flick stars Brian Benben as Det. Dwight Faraday, a lonesome and comical detective often assigned to the weird and unusual cases brought before his precinct. This time, weird is only an understatement. A series of gruesome murders have taken place around the city, and the only tangible evidence says that the killer was…a deer. The bodies show to have been trampled by deer hooves, with each of the murders occurring when the man was engaged in sexual activity. Dwight goes where the evidence takes him, and leaves him the laughing stock of the precinct. He believes a woman who has the ability to shape into a deer is killing off men she seduces. Unfortunately, he is right.
The plot sounds silly and is the biggest reason why I took my time giving this one a watch. It is only silly if you take it seriously, so watch this with an open mind and you are sure to be pleased. Thankfully, John Landis displays this film as one you should not take overly seriously and it helps you get into that proper mindset. The storyline was one I had yet to see used in the horror genre, and I liked that. Brian Benben was awesome for this role, mainly because it required a great sense of sarcasm and comedic lines that I am sure few actors can pull off properly. The comedy in this film is mainly used during the second act, which I did find to be fun and enjoyable. This isn’t the typical Scary Movie type comedy, but a fulfilling comedy that delivered me a nice chuckle.
The gore was well done and Landis showed his willingness to hold nothing back when it comes to live action gore effects. We do not get many onscreen kills, and I enjoyed that due to the mystery it created. Is it really a deer woman that is killing these people? That answer is given to us as the film progresses and not right away, which would have ruined the film. Landis’s pacing is well done thanks to the comedy and quirky feel we get from Dwight, along with the conflict he faces with this case. My only slight complaint would be this film’s climax, which I found to be a bit unfulfilling. If there is ever another season and Landis asked to come back, I can see a sequel happening, which would be a first for this series.
Overall, this is a positive watch from one of horror’s most fun directors. I recommend this to those who want to see a horror film with a unique plot that provides great gore and some nice comedic elements.
– I ranked this film #13 of 26 entries in my Ranking the “Masters of Horror” Entries post.