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Malevolence (2004) – DVD Review

Malevolence DVD


Directed and Written by Stevan Mena
Starring Brandon Johnson, Samantha Dark, Heather Magee, Keith Chambers, and Courtney Bertolone


  • Running audio commentary by director Mena, actor Johnson, and associate producer Eddie Akmal
  • Featurette: Back to the Slaughterhouse
  • Rehearsal Footage
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailers and TV/Radio Spots
  • Still gallery

Released by: Anchor Bay.
Rating: R
Region: 1
Anamorphic: Yes.

My Advice: Avoid It.

[ad#longpost]Plans rarely work the way they’re intended. Take for instance the plan of Kurt, Max (Chambers), his sister Marilyn (Magee), and her desperately in-debt boyfriend Julian (Johnson) to rob a bank and then hide out in an abandoned house. The robbery goes wrong right off the bat when Max gets shot and dies on the way to the hideout. Then Kurt, in another car, gets a flat and steals a van with two hostages, Samantha (Dark) and her daughter Courtney (Bertolone). Then, something or someone occurs that they couldn’t plan for. It seems that in a nearby abandoned slaughterhouse lives a serial killer and these people are just so convenient for hunting. Suddenly they no longer fear the cops or each other. All that concerns them is surviving and escaping this creature of Malevolence.

This is an old-fashioned slasher horror film. That is not a compliment, though, because I’m speaking more directly to the “old” portion of that. The whole concept of the unstoppable masked serial killer has been done to death (pardon the expression). I realized that this was going to be bad when the killer attacked his victim with the butcher knife up raised Psycho-style. Everyone knows you deliver knife blows underhanded to get around the rib cage. This and even more clichés are evident: the female lead trips while escaping, the aforementioned killer is masked (although there is a plausible reason for this), he still keeps going after several blows to the head and being shot, and so on and so on. You wonder with Hollywood either running towards the gory glories of the past or adapting the new horror films of Japan and Korea, these guys would tackle this without some intent of reinvention. And if you’re going to do a slasher movie, you’d expect a lot more blood and gore. However, the death scenes are both lackluster and bloodless. I will say, though, that the movie looked good. The various locations shots have good composition, even the claustrophobic slaughterhouse had a creepy vibe going. Pity the script and the no-name actors were not up to matching the scenery.

Pic from the Malevolence DVD

There are quite a few extras on this disc, but most are pretty useless. There’s the photo gallery without any captions, and the less said about that pet peeve of mine the better. There is introductory text for the deleted scenes but the scenes themselves don’t really add anything to the movie. No mystery as to why those were cut. The same can be said about the short rehearsal scene and the trailer and commercials.

There is a making of featurette that is quite informative, however. He explains how he wanted to make a good old-fashioned non-ironic horror movie. So he intentionally made the movie this way. The director tells of his trials and tribulations about making the movie without permission from store owners, no money, hardly any film, and freezing cold weather. While some may admire his and his crew’s perseverance, you have to wonder if God was trying to tell him something. Still he was lucky to find an actual abandoned slaughterhouse with many of the implements still present.

The commentary is part rehash of the information of the featurette, part commentary of the blind where they point out the glaringly obvious, and part happy talk where they detail how everyone pulled together to get this film made. Yawn. I’m not the horror buff like some of my colleagues are but I can tell you there’s far better horror out there. So pick one of those up and avoid Malevolence.

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