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Monday, January 9, 2012

Malevolence(2004)

If you can't tell by reading my reviews, aatmosphere is the most important element to me in a Horror/Slasher film. Many shortcomings such as bad acting, lack of gore, lack of character development, can all be made up for by superior atmosphere. By atmosphere, I also include a great set and/or shooting locale. Malevolence has a few of these shortcomings, not many really, but atmosphere oozes off of the screen in this little indie flick. The suspense is done so well, that in many(more than 5) scenes, I was so scared that I was tempted to turn the lights on!
The film starts out by explaining that in rural Pennsylvania, there have been children and young girls going missing for years now. In 1989, a young boy at the age of 6 is kidnapped by this killer, and is made to watch him kill these young girls. Cue to modern day, and we see a small band of criminals in the preparations of robbing a bank. One of the men doesn't want to rob the bank at all, but has a big debt owed to a loan shark, and his girlfriend convinces him this is the only way to get out of the debt. The girlfriend's brother is the one planning the robbery, and he has been in and out of prison, for more than half of his life. There is one more participant in the robbery as well. During the robbery, the brother is shot, and dies from the injury. The other man has the money from the robbery, and the couple must meet him at a house in the country to divide up the money. The man with the money has car trouble, and car-jacks a van, along with a little girl and her mother to take him to the house.
It doesn't take long after arriving to the house, that we see a hooded killer and he takes out the bandit with the money. The hood that he wears is one of the scariest disguises that I have seen in a Horror film. Even though it looks like the one that Jason wears in Part 2, and the one from The Town That Dreaded Sundown, it is a look that has not been done to death, and is very effective. The rest of the film is spent by the mother and daughter, and the reluctant criminal trying to escape the murderer. We are led to believe that this is the same killer that has been killing and kidnapping in this countryside for years, although there is a twist, but not one that comes out of left field. The rural countryside, and the houses and factories that the film were shot in, are fantastic. The production designer definitely did a fantastic job on this film. Also, many scenes of the hooded killer stalking through the foggy night are SO eerie. He is a silent stalker, and that makes it all the more effective. I have always thought so, don't you think?
This film is definitely an homage to all of the great Slasher films of the 80's, and I definitely can't understand the low rating(5.0) and the bad reviews on IMDB. But who really pays attention to the armchair critics on that site anyway? If you are a fan of atmosphere and ambiance in your Slasher films, I cannot recommend Malevolence enough! It is a little light on the bloodshed, but I don't think that the film would be bettered by making it more bloodier anyway. The original TCM is not a bloody film at all, but people still love it anyway, that's because of the atmosphere and the location! Please give Malevolence and shot, and let me know what you think?

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