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Bereavement- Malevolence II - Bereavement- Malevolence II( Blu Ray/ DVD) [Mena Films - 2018]

Appearing seven years after the original Malevolence- an excellent through lesser-known modern slasher, we got Bereavement- Malevolence II. The film moved away from the more set slasher tone of the first film, for a still gory pre-sequel thatís best described as a serial killer thriller, with touches of teenage rural drama.  From late last year hereís a duel Blu Ray & DVD release of Bereavement- featuring directors cut of the film, directorís commentary, deleted scenes, etc.

Bereavement is the third feature from Stevan Mena-who directed, wrote, edited & scored the film. It follows up the original Malevolence(which Mena also directed, wrote, produced, edited & scored), and tells the source story of sack hooded killer from the first film. Bereavement begins in small-town rural America- where we find Graham Sutter(Brett Rickaby) kidnapping six-year-old Martin Bristol. He takes the boy back to the rundown rural slaughter-house he lives in, and we find out heís a deranged serial killer- who is capturing, torturing, then killing young women in the shadowy & cobwebbed bowls of the slaughterhouse.

We move forward five years, finding that Sutter's killings have remained undiscovered, and young Martin(Spencer List) is becoming more & more distributed by whatís going on, and Sutter's worship of a cow skull-headed shadowy figure.  Just down the road from Stutters rundown slaughterhouse we see 17-year-old Alison Miller(Alexandra Daddario) moving in with uncle Jonathan(Michael Biehn) after her father has died- from this point the film alternates between grim & at times brutal activity at the Sutters, and Alison settling in with her uncles family as well as getting to know local teen William(Nolan Gerard Funk ) who lives with his wheelchair-bound & alcoholic farther.

Bereavement skilful moves between the troubled, creepy, and at times extremely gruelling violence of the slaughterhouse. And the very believable & fleshed out characters of Alison & William, and their growing romance. Though-out thereís a great use of the rural surroundings- with the genuinely abandoned slaughterhouse been a great setting, but aside from this, we get very classy & moody long shots of the fields & countryside.

One of my slight criticisms of the first Malevolence was the rather mixed acting, and with Bereavement everyone is great- going from the more seasoned & known Michael Biehn- who played key roles in both The Terminator & Aliens- playing the weathered-yet caring uncle character. Brett Rickaby plays a great creepy Ed Gein type character.  And the younger supporting cast of Alexandra Daddario, Nolan Gerard Funk, and Spencer List- each play their roles with great depth & believability.

Like the first film, when the gore & slaughter does kick-in- itís damn brutal & pretty unforgiving- moving from frenzied craving knife attacks, meat hooks through limbs, and bloody batterings/ shootings. As we move towards the decidedly bleak & creepy ending we see characters we donít expect to go down, go down. And just like the original Malevolence, this is true, no-nonsense horror- with none of the smirking postmodern sentiment in place.

All in all Bereavement is a great follow-up to the original Malevolence- sure if youíre looking for the same film again, you may be disappointed as thereís a lot more depth here than a simply a slasher film- and really, as mentioned early, Bereavement is more of a serial killer meets teen drama. Itís great to see Mena developing here as both a writer & director, as the film really pulls you in from the start- keeping you held until its end.

Extra wise on the disc we get a commentary track from Mena- this sees him discussing the films script & his influences on writing it, the actors & how he chose them, the location, and filming of Bereavement- itís an informative & interesting track, which highlights Mena real passion for film-making. Next, we get a thirty-five minute behind the scene feature- which has some really rewarding interviews with the cast, Mena &  the other production crew. We get seven-minute on-set footage and a selection of deleted scenes.

Normally when one approaches a sequel to a film, you  expect  you'll be getting the same thing again- so Bereavement- Malevolence II was a real surprise- been both believable, brutal & decidedly tense towards the end. And really it works well as a stand-alone film too, so you donít need to have seen the original Malevolence to enjoy/ get this- if you like serial killer films, check this out.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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