I am officially on a Netflix horror movie binge, and Malevolent was my first film of choice.
1) It stars the up and coming Florence Pugh, and
2)the synopsis definitely caught my eye (which we'll get to soon), so needless to say I went in extremely enthusiastic to start my binge. Now, I don't want to say that I was disappointed, but I do believe this film had so much to offer, and it had an enticing start, but it didn't quite hit its mark, which I presume has a part to do with budget restrictions.
Florence Pugh once again plays a tragic character that leaves me heartbroken. The movie follows Angela (Pugh) and her brother Jackson (Ben Lloyd-Hughes) Sayers, two Americans who live in Glasgow in the 1980's, who run a ghost-cleansing scam for money. We start with the siblings and their 2 friends "helping" a grieving father and daughter remove the ghost of his wife from their home and into heaven. Immediately, it's evident how sleazy this scam is, and you can tell it's taken a toll on our main protagonist- Angela- whereas her brother is very detached from the indecency they are committing.
If you're like me and easily prone to mini heart attacks brought on by scary movies, then just a hint that there is a jump scare approximately 10 minutes into the film that almost made my skin turn inside out. It is, honestly, the smallest jump scare with possibly no computer generation nor editing involved, but alas it got me good.
The films rising action was full of potential and promise, with the disconnect between the two siblings being very prominently displayed. As they both suffered the loss of their mother, due to her suicide, they are both handling the emotional trauma in a separate way. Angela views their mother as a victim, but her brother holds strong resentment. Angela, clearly suffering from the past, their current line of work bothering her conscience, and failing her psychology class at uni, no longer wants to continue with their scam, but when her brother needs to do a big job in order to repay Scottish gangsters before they kill him, she agrees to go on one last ghost hunt. Very obviously, this is where things take a nose dive, because Angela has already been having a hard time with strange visions, and the final hunt includes an isolated estate where multiple orphan girls were murdered.
The Netflix film only runs about an hour and a half, so after an interesting, well-thought out set up, the audience has about 30 minutes left to experience the climax and ending. At this point, things start to get going pretty fast, to the point where there's something new happening in every next scene. If you don't care about concise and consistent story-telling pace in a movie, then you won't mind, but the change in pace is definitely disorienting for me. This brings me to the budget limit. This film has a quick and easy, band-aid ending that doesn't wrap up the story properly and can't really satisfy the audience. Other than that, it's a pretty good scary movie with a decent story line that follows popular scary movie tropes, but it attempts to tell them in a different way. It does fall just short of its' goals- suffering a cheap budget, rushed ending, and weak dialogue- so I probably wouldn't watch again, but I would recommend others to if you're just a horror fanatic, like myself.
DO NOT STREAM!
(Unless you're a Flo stan)
Based on the book "Hush" by Eva Konstantopoulos
starring, Florence Pugh, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Scott Chambers, Georgina Bevan, Stephen McCole, Celia Imrie, James Cosmo, and more
written and directed by, Ben Ketai, Eva Konstantopoulos, and Olaf De Fleur