Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Alexandra Daddario, Michael Biehn, Spencer List, Brett Rickaby
Directed by Stevan Mena
Finally the prequel/sequel to the way above average 2004 slasher film Malevolence is here, and in it we take a look back at serial killer Martin Bristol. What happened to turn him stab happy? Why doesn't he feel pain? All of these questions and more are answered in Bereavement, but before we get to just how worth it this wait was, a quick plot crunch is in order.
Back in 1989 a very young Martin Bristol was kidnapped in front of his home in Minersville, Pennsylvania. Despite the community's best efforts the boy had apparently just vanished. There was no call for ransom and Martin was never seen again. It doesn't take a genius to realize that the person who took the child just isn't right in the head. Instead of killing Martin (List), our resident evildoer, Graham Sutter (Rickaby), imprisons the poor kid on his dilapidated pig farm and forces him to witness and participate in many a murder and atrocity. This goes on for five torment filled years.
Enter 17-year-old Allison Miller (Daddario). After the death of her parents she goes to live with her Uncle Jonathan (Biehn). With not a whole hell of a lot to do and nothing but time on her hands, she decides to have a look around her new home town. It's then that she spots the house. That one house that every city has that people warn you not to go to. Of course curiosity gets the better of her, and that, my friends, is when all hell breaks loose.
The only problem? Wow, do we have to wait a long time to finally get there. Don't get me wrong; I'm all for character development. Viewers should very much care about the people they're watching or else there are no stakes, but to call this a lengthy set-up is a bit of an understatement. Even though it's very obvious that both Allison and Sutter will soon be having their showdown, Bereavement spends most of its runtime with its two main characters winding down two distinctly different roads until they finally intersect. The result is a lot of dragging that makes the flick seem much longer than it actually is.
Still, when it's good, it's very good, but those long pauses in between the momentum shifts feel painfully dull at times. Mena displays a keen eye for the camera, but his editing skills leave a bit to be desired. Cut out around fifteen minutes, and we have a razor sharp tale of terror. There's a good movie in here. A really good movie. It's just a bit lost amongst some seemingly endless scenes.
Fans of Malevolence will most likely eat this one up because it truly plays like one person's nightmarish descent into a world of total madness. It gives you a feel for who Martin Bristol is and why he's so lethal. On that level the film is a complete success. We just wish there was an equally as successful editor to go along with it.
Will we get a third chapter? Mena says he's ready to go with one. Despite this film's shortcomings we're still very interested as to where Martin finally ends up. Let's just hope it doesn't take what feels like hours to get there.
3 out of 5
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