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Review Cast a Deadly Spell (1991): Absolute gem!

genre: fantasy, film noir, comedy, crime

Cast a Deadly Spell is a unique blend of film noir and fantasy set in a Lovecraftian universe. In this alternate universe gremlins, werewolves, vampires, gargoyles are roaming the world out in the open and everybody uses magic except our main character called H. Phillip Lovecraft. He has his reasons, but it's never explained why.

Lovecraft (played by Fred Ward) is a private investigator and is hired to track down and return a book that is stolen. This book is called the Necronomicon and seems to be very important to owner Amos Hackshaw (David Warner). Obviously, if you are familiar with Lovecraft and Evil Dead you will have a pretty good idea what the book entails. But like Lovecraft not explaining why he doesn't want to use magic, the film doesn't tell us what the book is about. Many elements that are taken out of H.P. Lovecraft's work are left unexplained, but have to be accepted as part of the world. This adds a fun factor for the fan since there is a lot packed in to recognize and get happy about. For people who aren't familiar with Lovecraft, the whole viewing experience could be very thrilling and suspenseful as the film is filled with surprises for them. In case you don't care for Lovecraft or the fantasy elements, there are the film noir characteristics to focus on. Surprisingly, it remains very faithful to that genre as well. Julianne Moore for example is the perfect femme fatale. And once you have witnessed Fred Ward as the gumshoe you don't want anybody else.

All the performances are top-notch. The whole cast takes the material seriously and help you believe the world they live in is real. Pretty hard to do considering some of the special effects might not always be high grade. But again it's proven that practical effects are superior to CGI, since it looks better and adds to the charm of the film. Considering this film is made for TV, the production values must have been quite high. Because the film overall is visually very pleasing. 

There is a very good chance you haven't even heard of this movie which is a real shame since Cast a Deadly Spell is a must-watch for sure. 

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1 comment:

Dale Brown said...

I've never heard of this film but it does sound fascinating. Thanks for the heads-up.




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