I just went back and read the blog I wrote about the 2004 slasher movie Malevolence. I loved the hell out of that throwback to the original slasher era that is clearly inspired by the 1978 classic Halloween. So it’s no wonder I completely blind purchased the 2011 prequel, Bereavement.
The good news is that I stuck with the entire film. The bad news is that I don’t have any urge to ever watch it again or to even keep it in my collection. I will hold on to it in hopes that the planned third film in this “trilogy” somehow elevates Bereavement‘s existence.
Malevolence was a slasher with a short intro about a little boy forced to witness the atrocities of a killer—which then flashes forward ten years to new blood that we can only assume is falling victim to the scarred little boy all grown up. Bereavement takes just the prologue from the first film and expands it into an entire movie—an entirely too long movie. We didn’t need almost 2 hours of our time to show us how this killer repeatedly strings girls up, speaks philosophically with them before gutting them, then blames the little boy he kidnaps at the beginning of the film each time. That’s it. That’s pretty much what happens over and over and over again. The film has none of the tension, suspense, atmosphere, or even the great score of the original film. With no signs of 80s inspiration this time around, the film instead relies more on the relentless brutality of modern horror that spells out all the pain for viewers instead of celebrating the fear and filling us with a sense of dread.
See, the kidnapped kid can’t talk and he has a condition that leaves him with no sense of touch—so the killer can just stick him repeatedly like a pincushion and the kid just stares blankly. That’s exactly what the killer does in front of all the girls he kidnaps, just to screw with their minds – look at how much fun it is to stick a knife in this little kid just like I’m going to do to you! The killer’s identity is never kept secret—he’s another plain old hick hanging out in an abandoned meat factory. No human flesh mask, inbred deformities…nothing. Although, he does worship and talk to a bull skull. And yet, as disturbing as that all seems, as vicious as the kills are, and the constant stabbing of the boy, the idea that this guy is deranged STILL doesn’t come across! It’s all a bunch of bull…worship.
To propel the story forward, we’re introduced to some teen girl whose parents died, so she’s come to live with her uncle and his family. She jogs past the old meat factory and is convinced she sees a little boy in there. Eventually she goes in. I was praying the killer would just gut her too so the movie could end. Instead, she finds newspaper clippings explaining the boy’s disappearance. Imagine that. The killer keeps newspaper clippings about what he’s done in a scrapbook. Anyway, the killer snags her and anyone who comes looking for her is dead meat. WHY? WHY??? Someone just needs to find her so this film can end already!
At about this point, I started watching the video for the #1 Billboard Dance Chart hit “I’m Still Hot” by Betty White on my computer. But the corner of my eye reported back to me that the chick gets away. There was also a puppy I didn’t even realize existed that I then prayed would be the only survivor. It seems the director knew this would be the only way to redeem the film….
I understand not wanting to make the same formulaic film twice in a row, but I simply cannot BELIEVE this movie was made by the same man who made Malevolence. I still hold out hope that the third film will restore my hope in Stevan Mena, the director who made an awesome debut film.