Sunday, September 20, 2009


Director Steven Mena is obviously very influenced by John Carpenter. Some people would even maybe go so far as to call this film a rip-off of JC, with a touch of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" thrown in. If it is indeed a rip-off, it's a well done one

Mena is one of few modern movie-makers working straight with 35 mm, which is an art form in an of itself. Crabby cameras, touchy lightwork, temperature effects, all add up to a more complicated affair than modern digital work. But God, are the colors beautiful, and there's nothing like the visual effect of a panoramic widescreen film. "Malevolence" is what Mena gives you, all of that in spades.

This movie was a bitch to make. Less than $100,000 budget, no-name actors, beginners to the film industry in the crew that found themselves wanting out of the business after this was done. Shame, because their work is fantastic. Mena wrote and performed his own score, as well as writing and directing. Tak Fujita did beautiful director of photography work, and the unknown cast does not come off that way at all.

"Malevolence" is intended as the 2nd part of a trilogy, shot out of order for budget constraints. A serial killer is bestowing his art upon a boy at the beginning. The boy grows up to be the beast he is trained to be. The payoff is why and how. In between, a creepy and often scary movie. Camera trickery, production design, and very little in the area of gore effects put you in the mode of a good spooky movie for the Halloween season. This is a good choice.

Yes, John Carpenter's presence can be felt here. In the overly gore-ridden and poorly acted movies that pass for today's horror films, is that a bad thing?

Mena's second film was a comedy called "Brutal Massacre" about a third rate horror film director trying to make a comeback. Mena's at least displayed versatility with that being his second project. It was funny more often than not, and those involved performed enthusiastically.

"Malevolence: Bereavement" is coming soon. I'm not sure if in theatres or direct to DVD, but there are much higher level actors involved, and the trailer is a piece of work. Stay tuned, watch "Malevolence" and be ready.

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