Directed by Stevan Mena [Other horror films: Brutal Massacre: A Comedy (2007), Bereavement (2010), Malevolence 3: Killer (2018)]
Like many of the movies I’ve been watching in recent times, Malevolence is a film I first saw a long while back, and though I had positive feelings about it, I honestly, if asked, wouldn’t have been able to explain why that is. Seeing it again with fresh eyes, I’ll admit the movie isn’t amazing, but I do think it’s very solid in spite of the fact it really does seem to rip off Halloween at times.
I mean, come on. That little chime/sound that pops up every now and again, or the design of the antagonist (though the hood is definitely more The Town That Dreaded Sundown), it just feels really familiar. I don’t fault the movie for that (though I can see why some do), because I still think that Malevolence has solid tension.
Admittedly, though, it takes a while to get there. The first thirty or so minutes, if not forty, are almost void of interest. I guess getting to know the bank robbers is something, but really, it’s slow-going in the beginning, and while I like the final effect (in which the finale seems a lot more action-packed), it’s not always the most exciting content.
Worth mentioning also, Malevolence is pretty low-budget, made for around $200,000, and it does sometimes show, but I definitely don’t find that to be detrimental to it, because, as I said, it can possess a solid lease on suspense when it wants to. Personally, for a lower-budget flick, I though some of the camera angles were pretty interesting, and I certainly like the low-key, yet effective, setting.
Jay Cohen, who played the antagonist here, really did a solid job, and seemed to have much the same feel as Michael Myers (though he did seem to move a bit quicker). Samantha Dark, who played an abducted mother (her daughter was played by Courtney Bertolone) was decent here, though she didn’t have that much opportunity to get into the action save the finale. I was more engaged with Heather Magee, who had one of the more interesting characters, but she barely went anywhere. R. Brandon Johnson made for a unique hero, but really, I have to say the best performance here is by Gurdy, who played a scary tree.
From all I’ve read, Malevolence seems to be a somewhat divisive film (which is backed up by it’s IMDb rating, right now at a 5.1/10), and I obviously lean more toward the ‘It’s a good movie, get off it’s back’ side, but I can see why it wouldn’t work for everyone. Personally, I like the suspenseful nature of the film once the movie gets there, and the footnote investigation at the end too. It’s not a perfect movie, no, but I did find it quite worthwhile.
This is one of the films covered on Fight Evil’s podcast. If interested, listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this movie.