Reviews & Counting
# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Stevan Mena

Alexandra Daddario/Allison
Michael Biehn/Jonathan
John Savage/Ted
Brett Rickaby/Graham
8 10
1989 , Minersville, Pennsylvania, USA, young Martin Bristol (who has a disorder that makes him impervious to pain) is kidnapped by nut job Graham Sutter (Brett Rickaby) who goes on to raises the young boy in the fine arts of snatching and maiming hot pretty girls. Hey, we all need hobbies! At the same time, well endowed Allison (Alexandra Daddario); just moved in the neighborhood, she happens to be a hot, pretty girl. Do the math!
In 2004, writer, director, producer STEVAN MENA blasted his old-school, slow burn genre bullet MALEVOLENCE our way. It was well received for the most part within the horror community. He then followed that up with BRUTAL MASSACRE: A COMEDY in 2007 (which kind of went under the radar...well mine anyways) and now Mena is back to his old slashing grounds with BEREAVEMENT; a prequel to MALEVOLENCE; one that chronicles how his psycho killer came to be. BEREAVEMENT was a tough watch and I mean that as a compliment. It had no qualms in exploring the more taboo charged corners of our beloved genre and sported a merciless streak that echoed efforts from the 70's, a time when horror films had big bulldog balls between their legs and weren't afraid to "Ike Turner" audiences in the face. I mean folks being killed or/and tortured is one thing, tossing kids into the mix? It's a whole new ball game. You’re striking a cord when you drop that card; and BEREAVEMENT when at it so hard that I was numb and somewhat exhausted after my screening. THANK YOU!

BEREAVEMENT dug its claws deep into me early on by seeping two gripping plot lines my way. The first had to do with a kid being thought to kill by some fruit cake and the other saw young Allison coming to town (to stay with her uncle), with her own demons in her back pack. The former benefited from tossing lots of ugliness my way, toying with me via a "is there an evil force at work or not" game while showcasing stand out performances by Brett Rickaby as the loony and young Spencer List as the introverted child trying to make sense of his twisted disposition. The latter narrative line brought in the affecting drama with the able and incredibly busty Alexandra Daddario giving a likable and grounded show. Michael Biehn made it happen on his end as well. He took a fairly standard role on paper, Biehned the shit out of it and elevated the character to a higher level of "f*ck yeah". The old saying (that I just invented) is true: When in doubt? BIEHN! Both tales complemented each other thematically (dysfunctional relationships between grown ups and kids), moved forward slowly but surely, got under my skin and set up tent there, until they finally collided come the last act to kick my ass to high hell.

Now, I couldn't go on with this drivel with a straight face without addressing Alexandra Daddario's bra destroyers. Yup, her tight top challenging breasts definitely rivaled Julianna Gill's twins in terms of best tits in modern horror. Their performance was simply incredible. See them wrestle fiendishly with that white top in the hopes of popping out for a breath of fresh air. Witness them bounce epically as she runs for dear life... and the coup the grace was when the dials perked up in that cold room. I almost stood up and applauded, awestruck by the natural wonders before me. One (or is it two) for the balloon books! Visually; every thing about Bereavement was simply ghoulishly gorgeous to gawk at. All I kept thinking while watching this one was Mena was akin to a morose painter in the way that he shot his picture; violently slapping death strokes of black paint onto his canvas. He refreshingly used a lot of static shots, his framing was axed toward macabre beauty, he maximized all that his settings had to offer (big skies, vast deserted fields) while the sumptuously somber cinematography (by Marco Cappetta) backed all that loving marvelously (loved them sunsets). The whole reeked of dread, with every frame dripping with pain; definitely not a happy go lucky picture. Add to all that jive a slew of well executed nail biting sequences, a couple of ruthless plot turns that I didn’t see coming, an effective score by Stevan Mena (shit is there anything this guy can't do) and a finale that ruined my day (am a better man for it) and you get what Indie horror filmmaking should be all about.

Any drawbacks? A few. I could've done without the local bad-boy living with his drunko dad subplot. It didn’t bring enough juice to the the story to fully validate its existence and worse of all; actor Nolan Gerard Funk didn't sell me 100% as the rebel without a cause or a clue. At least John Savage got to shine in them bits; always a treat to see him do his thing. Moreover this bad boy had a couple of dumb moves to serve the plot (hey, a creepy abandoned place, lets go in) and questions like this popped in my noggin :"With all the missing girls; why isn’t the law all up in that town"? - "It’s a small town; if I were a cop, the fist places I’d look into would be that creepy dude driving that beat up truck and that abandoned slaughterhouse that screams murderer's hideout." - "Why can she hear him screaming outside the house but he can’t hear her screaming from the inside, are these one-way walls or something?". When all was said and killed though, BEREAVEMENT came through; and once again Stevan Mena proved that he has what it takes to become a horror great.

Off to go have lunch at a cemetery by my gravestone. Bon appetite!

We get nasty cuts, stabbings, a hook in the leg, some fun with an axe and more! Not overly gory but very mean spirited.
T & A
There's tits on a corpse (not fun), another pair and Alexandra Daddario going buck nuts in the cleavage and nips pushing through top stuff (fun). Wait till ya see them puppies in freezing cold. To quote Darth Vader: "Impressive, most impressive."
With MALEVOLENCE, I always thought that Stevan Mena should have become another James Wan or Darren Bousman in terms of stature in the modern Hollywood genre scene. I sure hope that BEREAVEMENT will boost him up there, cause in my opinion that’s where he f*cking belongs. BEREAVEMENT was an unsettling, dark, boundary testing and oppressive ride with stand out actors (Rickaby, List and Biehn owned it), some sexiness (thank you Alexandra Daddario), brilliant cinematography and a finale that will take a leak in your Rum and Coke. Yes, there were some plot holes/dumb moves to serve the plot and I could have done without the bad boy kid subplot (Nolan Gerard Funk's average performance didn't help in that matter) but overall I got destroyed by this one. Am actually gonna watch MALEVOLENCE again and am hoping that Mena brings Martin Bristol's story to a close with a third installment. The bottle of Jack is cracked open, waiting... bring it Mena!
The film was shot in Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA for about 2,000,000 $

Alexandra Daddario also acted in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010) and Hall Pass (2011).

Brett Rickaby was also in The Crazies (2010) remake.