MALEVOLENCE 3: KILLER
Director/Writer: Stevan Mena / Cast: Katie Gibson, Kevin McKelvy, Jay Cohen, Alli Caudle, Kelsey Deanne, Scott Kay, Todd Litzinger, Andy Striph, Victoria Mena, Reed Davis, Ashley Wolfe, Adrienne Barbeau, Graceann Dorse.
Body Count: 12
Laughter Lines: “I had to hold his thing so he wouldn’t piss on himself when he went to the bathroom. He probably would’ve complained if he still had his voicebox.”
Malevolence was a film I raved about in the 00s – a showcasing of what can be achieved on low budget via a filmmaker with an eye for great visual setups, even if we’d seen many of them before. Curiously, I’ve yet to review it here. The 2010 prequel, Bereavement, was as handsome, but a sadly dull affair, albeit furnished with a couple of names. Truth be told, I’d all but forgotten about the series when this popped up out of nowhere. The final part of a trilogy that you have to watch as 2 then 1 then 3.
Perhaps Mena took on board some critiques that the first film wasn’t slashy enough and so almost goes ballistic in body count terms for the closing (?) chapter, which picks up right where the first one left off (I’ve waited 15 years to find out what happened after that closet door opened!) – Martin Bristol is on the run, having offed a couple of bank robbers and various nubile teen girls over the years.
With the FBI looking for him, Martin stalks the surrounding locus of his old homestead, now occupied by three college girls: He offs their sleazy landlord with a lawnmower blade to the head, various neighbours, boyfriends, and finally starts stalking the girls. Devoted violinist Ellie is looking after the neighbour’s daughter, Victoria, after her mom vanishes (read: has been stabbed) and slips into the final girl shoes to escape.
Meanwhile, the feds have tracked down Martin’s mother, living with grandma (the always welcome Barbeau), as they think he’ll naturally navigate himself home again.
Where the original film favoured Friday the 13th Part 2 stylings, things shift to look like Halloween was the primary influence. In fact, with no explanation, the lay viewer might be fooled into thinking they’re actually watching an also-ran from the late 80s given the overarching look of it, with mucho boiler-suited shoulders creeping into the side of the frame and from-head-down creeping.
As before, acting and dialogue is occasionally a little amateurish and the script too humourless given how dependent on now-laughable clichés it is. Those genre fans looking for modern horror to embrace the tropes of olde in an un-ironic fashion should lap this up as it ticks just about every box from visual composition to a tinkering score that Harry Manfredini could’ve delivered, via a sea of people looking for the missing knife that was just there a moment ago and nobody locking any doors then complaining when people appear from nowhere, squealing “How did you get in!?”
Given that it announces itself as the final part of the series, the ending is also something of a flatline, with the expected reunion of mother and son unwisely written off as a dream sequence and leaving things open for another ten more if Mena so desires.