Powered by Blogger.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Review: Malevolent

Director: Olaf de Fleur
Screenplay: Ben Ketai, Eva Konstantopoulos
Year: 2018

In “Malevolent” Angela and her brother Jackson have a business as paranormal mediums in which they claim that Angela has a gift to talk to the dead but is nothing but a scam. Their most recent gig consists in going to an old orphanage, now inhabited by only one person and silent the voices that wander around this place and haunt it. Just that this time, the voices are not the product of a grieving person’s mind as they are used to and soon, they learn that this place has a dark history.

“Malevolent” starts with a nice pace. We quickly get to know the protagonists and without much character development, it is clear how everyone rolls. It is also clear that the business they manage is nothing but an opportunistic scam, but that Angela, interpreted by Florence Pugh (“The Falling”; “Lady Macbeth”), can be having real visions. This discovery takes place in a scene that was ambiently and suspensefully well crafted, with an excellently placed jump scare. All this elevated my expectations with this movie, but how wrong was I.

Once the introductory sequence comes to an end, the plot starts bouncing around and it is hard to understand where it is going. On one side, they develop the psychological aspect of our protagonist Angela, who is engulfed in a maelstrom of emotions regarding her family. The death of her mother is still painful and mixed with this is her grandfather's alcoholism and the behavior of her brother, who seems to have an innate ability to get himself in trouble. On the other part, the paranormal aspect is developed, when Angela’s visions are more frequent and vivid. As the movie goes other topics are brought in, of which I will not mention much to avoid spoiling the movie to those whom have not seen it and want to do so, but they are just thrown into this sea of badly combines and developed ideas from the production crew, spearheaded by director Olaf de Fleur (“City State”). On top of this, there are a few senseless stuff, as when once the antagonists are known, their motives or purpose are never clear or that the movie was filmed as a story that took place in the ’80s, which only works to give it a based on true events vibe, but contributes little to the plot.

After the initial scene, in which it seems like the apparitions Angela experiments will present some sort of danger to her, the rest of the apparitions lack this sense of danger, which in cases leads to question the purpose of them, some with no sense and end up lacking an explanation. The horror scenes ended up being weak and underutilized, as they do not emit the expected sensation. Part of the responsibility falls in the cast, that for me was one of the weakest points of the movie. In the scenes in which there was supposed to be a danger, the expression of the characters on the screen did not transmit this feeling. The only acting that was good was that of Celia Imrie (“Imagine Me and You”) as Mrs. Green, but when this character starts to be relevant to the plot, the damage has already been done. Some characters have no importance in the story whatsoever, being Beth, Jackson’s girlfriend, interpreted by Georgina Bevan (“Juliet, Naked”), the one that stands the most in this aspect. Another important point is that in most of the movie Jackson’s personality is portrayed as being egocentric, opportunistic and manipulative, what makes it difficult to be empathetic and soon you do not care about what happens to him, an aspect that affects the development of his relationship with his sister and debilitates certain parts in which this bond is important for the plot.

In my experience, “Malevolent” was a big deception and even more when you perceive that a lot more could have been done to end up with a better product, even when its premise is not overflown with originality. The scenes which are supposed to be scary are not, and you always feel something else could have been done to manage it. It also comes off as predictable in some parts and this ruins any surprise factor that is trying to be used. I found the characters to be dull and uninteresting, beyond the weak performances of the cast and there is no use for some of them. They also do not take the most out of the R classification, most of the time leaving the violent scenes to the viewer's imagination when they could have been used to deliver that shake that the movie desperately needed.

No comments:

Post a Comment