‘Malum’ is Another Eerie Offering from a Master of Modern Horror [Review]


When I first heard the news that Anthony DiBlasi was remaking Last Shift, my reaction was to question why one would want to reimagine a film that’s nearly perfect. But seeing as DiBlasi is one of my favorite voices in contemporary horror, I had to assume he had valid reason to do so. And after watching Malum, I see what he was setting out to do. This isn’t so much a straight remake as it is a companion piece. Malum is a variation of the same story but from a different perspective and with new context. What does carry over from the original is the bleak, unsettling tone that made my skin crawl in the best possible way. While Malum doesn’t reach the level of greatness that Last Shift does, it is absolutely a harrowing experience that boasts outrageous gore effects and a consistently palpable sense of dread. 

Malum follows rookie police officer Jessica (played by Jessica Sula of Split) on her inaugural shift as a police officer. She is manning a rundown police station the night before operations relocate to a new facility. Jessica volunteers for the gig with the hopes of learning more about her late father who died at the very same station in a brutal murder-suicide. His puzzling demise came shortly after he made headlines for rescuing three young women from a satanic cult. In her attempt to put the pieces together, Jessica comes face-to-face with the very same evil that touched her father in his last moments on earth. 

While Malum doesn’t necessarily get everything right, there’s plenty that I really enjoyed about it. For starters, there is a turn of events in the first five minutes of the film that completely blew my mind. It’s one of those situations where you have to do a double-take to make sure you actually saw what you thought you saw. It works as a welcome subversion of expectations and lets the viewer know that absolutely anything can happen. Moreover, it smartly sets the tone for what’s to come. 

DiBlasi builds upon the harrowing incident that unfolds in the first five minutes and continues to ramp up the tension with each passing moment. He uses lingering, eerie shots, low lighting, and ominous set design to elicit a sense of dread in the audience. And that never wavers. I was on the edge of my seat from the very beginning and felt like I couldn’t catch my breath until the end. 

The tension is made all the more effective by some truly sickening effects work. The gruesome images DiBlasi conjures onscreen are unsettling and nightmarish. They are vaguely reminiscent of body horror films of years past like Hellraiser but with a repulsive flare that is very much unique to this picture. 

The entire film has a surreal and dreamlike quality that keeps the viewer in a continuous state of uncertainty. That works as something of a double-edged sword. It serves to make Malum a disorienting experience. Although, it also works to lower the stakes to a certain extent. Some of the proceedings immediately feel like a hallucination, with very little likelihood that they are actually transpiring. As such, some of the scenes don’t pack the same punch that the original does. In Last Shift, the hallucinations and dreamlike sequences aren’t always immediately identifiable as such. They are a little sneakier. And that really serves to make this film’s predecessor all the more terrifying. 

My final critique is that Malum might have worked even better if it had distanced itself just a little more from Last ShiftMalum carves out a different path than its predecessor and it stands on its own. But with the skeletal outline loosely mirroring the events of the previous film, I didn’t get quite as much bang for my buck. I’d have liked to have seen DiBlasi separate the narratives just a bit more to allow for maximum shock value. The similarities led to a couple of instances where I didn’t jump out of my skin as much as I might have if I hadn’t had a pretty good idea of what was coming. With that said, this stands as a fairly minor complaint and one that can be lodged against the vast majority of remakes. 

All in, I really enjoyed Malum and I think fans of Last Shift will find a lot to love. While Malum doesn’t necessarily improve upon its predecessor, it’s still an eerie effects bonanza filled with thrills and chills. You can catch it exclusively in theaters beginning March 31st

  • Malum


‘Malum’ is chilling, surreal, and serves up gruesome gore effects.

User Rating 0 (0 votes)


Sign up for The Harbinger a Dread Central Newsletter