Bereavement. Film Review


Starring: Alexandra Daddario, Michael Biehn, Brett Rickaby & John Savage

Written, produced and directed by Stevan Mena

Rating: 18

Duration: 103 mins

Reviewed by Guy Adams

Horror can do many things. It can inspire, liberate, chill, amuse and terrify. Sometimes, however, it just wants to rub your face in the dirt. Stevan Mena’s prequel to his movie Malevolence certainly fits into that latter category. Viewers who like their gore, claustrophobia and lunacy tempered with elements of hope or redemption may find this a little suffocating.

Centering around a serial killer who “adopts” a young child suffering from congenital analgesia (a rare condition where the sufferer is unable to feel pain), Bereavement is classed by its creator as a “character study” compared to the more traditional stalker antics of the previous film.

In this it certainly achieves its aim though whether we actually want to spend 100 minutes in the presence of such a character is another thing entirely. All the grim necessities are present: the killer operates out of a disused charnel house; drives a truck that looks like it would eat any roadkill it found and spouts cod moral philosophy at his victims before giving them a sound gutting.

Some solid set-pieces show a solid imagination at work though there’s no doubt that the film feels a bit flabby at times (it was apparently filleted down from a three hour initial cut which would have been an exercise in endurance beyond what the killer’s victim’s suffer when hanging from their meat hooks). That said, when it works, as it frequently does in its last half, it’s a tense and grisly affair.

If you like your horror relentless and lacking in lighter shades then it’s certainly worth a look.