by Shrub 2/13/07
Where do we start with Malevolence? The most obvious impression is how derivative it is from classic horror flicks. I assume it’s meant as a tribute of sorts? The director Stevan Mena does acknowledge in the DVD extras that he wanted to take things from movies he loved and incorporate them into this film. But it would help if he tried a little harder to make them his own as opposed to outright copies. I mean a killer in navy blue coveralls with a white mask? A house in the country with bone “art” and meat hooks? Give us something new.
One thing new, I suppose, is that it starts out as hardly a horror film at all. More like a crime drama. We’ve got a group of three guys and a girl who hatch a scheme to rob a bank… and of course it goes horribly wrong from there. It’s not until about half way through that the movie kinda veers into horror territory – and that’s not fast enough for me!
The movie looks very professional for a low budget production. But there are flaws. It’s overly dramatic (the camera focusing on the hand of a dying person that gradually uncurls). It tries way too hard to be suspenseful (people walking SO slowly through the dark, looking for the source of that sound they just heard… while nothing happens), and the killer character is not nearly developed enough. He lacks mystique. He’s just one of a bunch of characters, only with a knife. And every kill is with that knife. There’s none of the usual gory slasher variety.
Now the movie turns at right about the one-hour mark. It gets real good and scary at this point, but unfortunately it’s only for about 15 minutes until the story climaxes, and I’m not sure that’s enough to recommend this flick. The ending is going for a typical horror-movie twist, but it’s just uninteresting. I’d be willing to give director Mena another shot as he showed some promise here, but I’d like to see him pick up the pace and try to get away from simply mimicking his favorite movies.