Monday, August 20, 2012

Recent Horror Review: BEREAVEMENT (2011)

Bereavement (2011)
Director: Steven Mena
Seen via: Anchor Bay DVD (R1)
Rating: 3/10

I've finally caught up on some newer horror releases that I've been meaning to get around to for a while. Here's the first...

Bereavement is an attempt to flesh out the backstory of 2004's Malevolence, which employed a single scene of a kidnapped child watching a man murder girls to drive an otherwise uninspired and hopelessly formulaic slasher. In other words, Bereavement tries desperately to take the only interesting fragment from its predecessor and expand it to feature length. It's the prequel nobody asked for.

Unfortunately, what's an interesting idea is framed inside an otherwise unremarkable story. Poor Allison, her parents have died and she's gone off to the country to live with her aunt and uncle. If it wasn't for that cute guy that lives down the road, she'd have nothing to live for. Except maybe solving the mystery of the identity of the little boy who keeps peering out of the abandoned meat processing plant at her.

Get used to this expression - it's the only
one the kid makes for the entire film.
Answer: the kid is the quintessential evil horror movie child. Silent and stony-faced, peering ominously out from shadows, he's supposed to scare you simply by existing. A mannequin could have filled this role. Why can't more filmmakers realize that kids who actually enjoy killing (as in Bloody Birthday or Devil Times Five) are far more sinister and infinitely more fun to watch than a sullen, immobile brat with a severe lack of affect. Has he been subjected to years of abuse, or has his X-box been taken away? It's difficult to tell.

Aside from a couple of unexpected moments in the last act, this one is a chore to get through. Despite mild controversy that predated the film's release (a child! with a knife! on a movie poster! - please, I saw way worse wandering the aisles of the video store when I was a kid) there's nothing terribly shocking within. Skip it.

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