Almost three weeks ago, I had the pleasure of watching a slasher flick that I had no knowledge of previously. While I can’t actually believe that was already 20 days ago, I am happy to say that I’ve finally jumped back in to what would eventually become a trilogy with Stevan Mena’s second installment, Malevolence 2: Bereavement.
After a family tragedy, Allison (Alexandra Daddario, Texas Chainsaw 3D) has come to stay with her uncle and his family for the foreseeable future. As she explores the surrounding areas of what is to be her new home, she quickly learns there is something sinister happening inside the walls of a nearby abandoned meatpacking plant.
Acting as a prequel to his 2004 film, Malevolence 2: Bereavement takes everything that was great about Malevolence and compounds greatly upon it. While the first film was a straightforward slasher flick, one that we’ve all grown accustomed to in the sub-genre, Bereavement has much more depth, diving into subjects of abuse, nature versus nurture, and more.
Malevolence 2: Bereavement is just as much a drama film as it is a horror one. I don’t want the term ‘drama’ to turn any of you hardcore gorehounds off. There is plenty here to keep you happy, but know that there is much more going on than just your typical hack-and-slash storyline.
Diving deeper into many of the characters that he’s introduced, writer/editor/director Stevan Mena does a remarkable job adding substance to his story. There is much more development for each of the major players and while this may slow things down at times, it is still a very welcome addition to my horror film experience. Very seldom do we see this type of care taken for a cast of characters, no matter how small or large their role may be in the overall tale.
Just as our main protagonist, Allison, played wonderfully by Alexandra Daddario of Texas Chainsaw 3D, “True Detective,” and much more, is given a backstory with great detail, so too is our antagonist.
Graham Sutter (Brett Rickaby, The Crazies, The Axe Murders of Villisca) is not your cookie-cutter slasher villain. He is driven by something that he believes in very deeply and feels the need to pass along to young Martin Bristol, who he has kidnapped. For the past five years, Sutter has been teaching Martin the lessons of his false idol, in hopes that he will take his place one day in some manner or another.
Rickaby’s performance is outstanding from start to finish and a real pleasure to watch as his sanity, or what’s left of it, slowly slips away during the film’s 111 minutes.
Quite frankly, all performances seen throughout Malevolence 2: Bereavement are a pleasure to watch in their own right. Everyone from Michael Biehn (The Terminator, Planet Terror) as Allison’s overprotective uncle Jonathan to Nolan Gerard Funk (Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare) as Allison’s new love-interest with a tragic past of his own, William, do a remarkable job.
Just as the performances seen between the two films have drastically improved, so too have other aspects; The special effects are great in both movies, but the noteworthy thing here is that there is much more on display in this 2010 sequel. There is plenty of stabbing, slicing, and hacking to keep all of the most bloodthirsty horror fans satisfied, with the final act being the most brutal of them all.
Mena’s decision to give Martin, the young kidnapped victim who is subject to all sorts of torture and psychological abuse, a rare neural disorder called congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis (CIPA) is an interesting one and adds even more to the backstory of our characters. Not only that, but it makes for some pretty interesting scenes throughout the film, ones that will simultaneously make you shutter and smile.
Malevolence 2: Bereavement at Home
Just as Malevolence has been re-released for its 15 year anniversary, Malevolence 2: Bereavement has also seen a brand new home release, available now from Mena Films. This Blu-ray and DVD combo pack boasts a 2.40:1 widescreen presentation of the film with Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio tracks and optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.
In addition to the director’s cut of the film with added bonus footage, fans are treated to audio commentary from Stevan Mena himself, theatrical trailers, deleted scenes, a stills gallery, and two behind-the-scenes featurettes, taking you even deeper into the story behind Malevolence 2: Bereavement.
After watching the first two films in this Malevolence trilogy, it is clear to see that Stevan Mena has a firm grasp on what it takes to be a filmmaker. His command on things like lighting, cinematography, and creating an effective score all help to elevate Malevolence 2: Bereavement above most other independent slasher fare out there today.
His attention to detail with his character development, storytelling, and his use of all practical effects are more than enough to keep any and all horror fans happy.
Be sure to pick up a copy of Malevolence 2: Bereavement today as I give it 4 dangling meat hooks out of 5.