Malevolence (2004)
By: Michael Helms on October 2, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Imagine Entertainment (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1. 85 minutes
The Movie
Director: Stevan Mena
Starring: Brandon Johnson, Samantha Dark, Heather Magee, Keith Chambers
Screenplay: Stevan Mena
Country: USA
Malevolence begins with a sobering chunk of text that observes that out of 300,000 children that go missing in the US per year, some are found but others disappear without a trace.

Cut to 1989 where a six year old boy Martin Bristol, is abducted while playing on a swing in Minersville, Pennsylvania. Next, in some dank and dirty basement, a girl is hanging from the ceiling as Marty is roughly poured out of the duffel bag he was stuffed into and is forced to observe the multiple stabbing (by a mystery assailant) of the aforementioned female.

Later, shots of wide open roads and a cheerful blue sky (the only allusion to happiness in the whole film) give way to a missing persons poster and the date September 19, 1999 as two guys meet at a cemetery to discuss their plan for a bank robbery. A hand gun is also exchanged. Meanwhile, a couple in a dumpy motel argue over their involvement in the heist. The male resists emphasizing that it's too dangerous. The woman, as it transpires is the sister of the mastermind who we met at the graveyard, and is super confident that this is the only way to pay off the debt her lover has acquired. With monster masks on (the girl doesn't want to be the Wolfman) the robbery goes ahead only for the woman's brother to receive a bullet wound to the stomach from trigger-happy security guards. The dynamics of the reluctant gang are suddenly short-circuited as personal survival becomes the main issue when the survivors, along with a pair of kidnap victims, converge on an apparently abandoned slaughterhouse...

Essentially a heist gone wrong movie that leads the participants into an encounter with a trained serial killer, Malevolence positively and stylishly oozes menace from every frame which, unfortunately for some, only infrequently breaks out into violence. Still, no viewer could deny the power that Malevolence is infused with.
DOP Tsuyoshi Kinoto deserves special praise for the way Malevolence constantly looks normal but remains unsettling. While most of Malevolence takes place at night Kinoto gives the film a deep blue hue that breaks out of the black velvet corners. Transfer presents solid colouration throughout with little grain.
The 5.1 surround mix makes great use of Stevan Mena's score that runs the gamut from Halloween stings and tinkles to an almost eurodisco sound that pounds out during driving scenes.
Extra Features
Back to The Slaughterhouse doco, trailers, & TV spots.
The Verdict
From the script to the faceless cast who enact it with a great sense of reality, Malevolence reeks of serious horror, making it one of the best direct to disc films released this year.
Movie Score
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