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Malevolence 3: Killer (Movie Review)

Malevolence 3: Killer (Movie Review)
7 10

PLOT: Having left his slaughterhouse lair behind, slasher Martin Bristol goes on a killing spree in a nearby town.

REVIEW: Fifteen years ago, writer/director Stevan Mena made his feature debut with the throwback slasher MALEVOLENCE, a film that was basically what you would get if you dropped FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2, HALLOWEEN, and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE into a blender, with a dash of RESERVOIR DOGS. Mena delves further into the world he started building all those years ago with the sequel MALEVOLENCE 3: KILLER, a film which hits the ground running, literally. Although fifteen years have passed in our reality, in movie time it's been more like fifteen seconds, and slasher Martin Bristol is first seen running away from his slaughterhouse stomping grounds, escaping into the surrounding countryside as police close in on his lair after the events of the first MALEVOLENCE.

If you're wondering how part 1 could lead directly into part 3, it's because MALEVOLENCE 2: BEREAVEMENT was a prequel that took us back to Bristol's childhood. A silent young boy with a condition that makes it so he is unable to feel pain, Bristol was abducted by serial killer Graham Sutter and forced to watch and take part in the murders of the women Sutter would bring back to his home and the adjacent abandoned slaughterhouse. When Sutter died, Bristol remained in the slaughterhouse and continued killing people like he was taught to do. Now he's loose - and he immediately starts killing more people.

In MALEVOLENCE, Bristol wore a pillow case over his head as he stalked his prey, bringing to mind the Jason Voorhees of FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 (and the Phantom Killer of THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN). He left that pillow case behind at the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE-esque setting of the slaughterhouse, and with those influences pushed aside MALEVOLENCE 3 plunges fully into HALLOWEEN territory as Bristol fixates on and stalks a new group of people who are in the wrong place at the wrong time: college student Ellie (Katie Gibson), her housmates Lynn (Alli Caudle) and Tara (Kelsey Deanne), and their young neighbor Victoria (Victoria Mena). Bristol watches them, waiting to strike, occasionally killing their friends and neighbors along the way.

Bristol spends so much time lurking around these characters, and Mena spends so much time building the tension, that the majority of MALEVOLENCE 3's 89 minute running time is taken up by what is basically one extended stalk and slash sequence. The approach Bristol takes to watching Ellie and her cohorts and then picking them off is very much like the approach Michael Myers took to stalking Laurie Strode and killing her friends in the original HALLOWEEN. The presence of young Victoria in here increases that HALLOWEEN throwback feel even more, as her interactions with Ellie bring to mind babysitter Laurie's interactions with the kids she was watching.

There's even a Dr. Loomis type of character in the form of FBI agent Perkins (Kevin McKelvy), who is investigating Bristol's crimes and trying to track the slasher down. Casting Adrienne Barbeau in the small role of Bristol's grandmother is also a major John Carpenter connection to have.

Unlike Michael Myers, Bristol spends this film stalking around with his face showing. That could have been a risky choice, since Jay Cohen reprises the role he first played fifteen years ago, but Mena shoots his scenes in such a way that it's not so obvious so much time has passed... and it helps that the years have somehow had very little effect on Cohen's appearance. I certainly couldn't pull off trying to look exactly the same as I did fifteen years ago.

Fans of the films that influenced Mena are likely to get a good deal of entertainment out of this one, as it's a very simple but solid entry in the slasher sub-genre that has an obvious respect for its predecessors. Some viewers may put the film down for not shaking things up or trying to do something new with the slasher concept, but that's sort of the point with this kind of movie - sometimes we want to see things done exactly how they were done back in the day, and MALEVOLENCE 3 does it just like it was done in the late '70s through the '80s. This is a relentless return to the stalk 'n slash glory days. Adding to its nostalgia-inducing effectiveness is the score composed by Mena, which isn't far off from an old school HALLOWEEN and/or FRIDAY THE 13TH score.

MALEVOLENCE 3 can be seen as even more of a commendable effort when you take into account the story of its production; the fact that Mena had to do extensive reshoots after actor Scott Decker (who still appears in some scenes as FBI agent Roland) tragically passed away when filming was only 75% complete. The film had to be reworked and recut on a budget that Mena has said was "zero", but he pulled it off. The finished product doesn't feel like it was compromised, and the only truly noticeable reshoot moments come when actress Katie Gibson's hair suddenly becomes much longer in the middle of a sequence.

What happened during production was very sad, and I'm glad Mena was able to find a way to complete the movie and get it out into the world to serve as a tribute to the memory of Scott Decker. While it does that, it also gives slasher fans a fun new movie to enjoy.

Extra Tidbit: MALEVOLENCE 3: KILLER will reach theatres and VOD/DVD/Blu-ray this October.

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