Malevolence DVD Review
Written by Peter West"Danger Seeker"
DVD released by Anchor Bay Entertainment
Written and Directed by Stevan Mena
2004, Region 1 (NTSC), 90 minutes, Rated R
DVD released on April 19th, 2005
Brandon Johnson as Julian
Samantha Dark as Sam
Heather Magee as Marylin
Richard Glover as Kurt
Mia Lotringer as Valerie
Courtney Bertolone as Courtney
Keith Chambers as Max
John Richard Ingram as Sheriff
The movie begins with the kidnapping of a young boy, who is forced to watch the brutal murder of a young girl. Jumping ahead nine years, we are now watching a bank robbery in the planning stages. When the robbery goes wrong, the gang splits up to meet later. We switch to a young mother at her daughter's softball game. Little does she know that when she stops at the local self serve station after the game, that she and her daughter are going to become hostages. They are taken to a old abandoned house in the woods, that's when all Hell breaks loose!
As luck has it, the meeting place is also used by a killer. The robbers start dropping off one by one as they fall prey to a man who truly has malevolence on his mind! Maybe the best indie film since Halloween, Malevolence will keep you at the edge of your seat from start to finish!
As I mentioned earlier, I caught of sneak preview of Malevolence last August while attending HorrorFind Weekend in Hunt Valley MD. You can read my impressions from then and my interview with director Mena with this link. Malevolence truly kept me at the edge of my seat throughout the entire film. I had not had that happen since I saw Halloween in the late 70s. Eight months later my opinion on the film has not changed in the slightest. The Anchor Bay DVD with it's slew of extras makes the film even more enjoyable!
Malevolence is also more than just the film itself. It's the triumph of a young director over what must have seemed like insurmountable odds at the time to be completed. As a fan of indie films, I salute Stevan Mena for not giving up and seeing his dream come to fruition. As a result, there's two more films to be made in the series now, a prequel and sequel. Mena has taken a genre that was tired and breathed life back into it with his originality while subtlety saluting predecessors that made it possible.
Video and Audio:
Malevolence is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen that's enhanced for 16x9 TVs. Unlike most idie films of today, the movie was filmed in 35mm and processed in (you're not going to believe this!) Technicolor. This is just one of the many steps director Stevan Mena took to separate Malevolence from the average indie horror film of today! The cinematography is done by documentary filmmaker Tsuyoshi Kimoto. Under Mena's direction Kimoto presents us a graphic vision into the world of a madman! With great material to begin with, Anchor Bay's Divimax processing gives us a result that is truly incredible for a independent film!
Anchor Bay has remastered the soundtrack into a Dolby Digital 5.1 track. It really brings out a lot of the tension the Stevan Mena intended it to! Listening to the movie on the Danger Seeker's home theater was as good if not better than at the theater when I saw it last August. Just as Carpenter did with Halloween, Mena composed the music for Malevolence. The result is one scary movie!
This is a Anchor Bay release and they live up to their reputation for providing the best in extras when available. There's the audio commentary with director Stevan Mena, lead actor Brandon Johnson and associate producer Eddie Akmal. Also included in a fantastic featurette "Back to the Slaughterhouse". Since most of the film takes place in a real slaughterhouse, this is a very appropriate title for it. It also will give aspiring directors a insight into the difficulties of making a indie film. Learn from Mena's setbacks!
Although not listed on the cover there's an interesting interview with lead actress Samantha Dark. Combine that with rehearsal footage, deleted scenes, trailers and TV spots, a still gallery and the original script on DVD-Rom, this is one first class package of extras!
Films that Peter West reviews are played on a Pioneer Elite DV-59AVi DVD player, viewed on a Mitsubishi WS-55413 HDTV and listened to on a THX certified Pioneer Elite VSX-55TXi A/V Receiver through a 7.1 setup of JBL Northridge E series Speakers.
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