Malevolent (2018) Movie Review By Stephen McLaughlin

Malevolent

Director: Olaf de Fleur Johannesson (as Olaf De Fleur)
Writers: Ben Ketai (screenplay by), Eva Konstantopoulos (screenplay by)
Stars: Florence Pugh, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Scott Chambers, Georgina Bevan

Siblings Jackson (Ben Lloyd-Hughes) and Angela (Florence Pugh) run a profitable ghost busting racket; swindling the bereaved with fake detection equipment and Angela’s paranormal ‘visions’. When hired to investigate a haunted old home, they uncover its terrifying past. With Angela on the edge due to lack of sleep, and stressed she is no longer certain what is real. Supernatural terrors are the least of their worries when they discover the real evil lurking in the isolated house.

Malevolent is directed by Olaf De Fleur and premiered on Netflix in early October 2018 here in the UK. I will say that to the films credit it did try something different in regards to the storyline and for me it was a film of two halves. The first half being a decent build up although a little predictable and the second half being not that scary (more eery) but some decent visuals. In other words the film is a mixed bag. De Fleur’s experience in documentaries over the past decade is evident here as the pacing is almost segmented. 

The acting and casting for Malevolent I couldn’t fault. Pugh, Lloyd-Hughes, Chambers and Bevan are the main actors in the film supported by veterans Celia Imrie as Mrs. Green and James Cosmo as the Grandfather. If I had one niggle I felt the characters of Angela and Jackson were more of a disjointed couple than Sister and Brother. Nevertheless the cast albeit a young cast perform well and for most of their screen time show good chemistry. The inclusion of Imrie and Cosmo (who Incidentally, appeared together in Highlander) into the film was a wise choice though. It needed their presence and experience although limited and their roles were important to the overall story. 

The feel and look of the film captured an eeriness that I felt helped the tone of the film, the pacing at times was a little choppy, although didn’t make up for overall plot, it gave the film an atmosphere. This is most evident in the house that was predominantly used as part of the story and its climax and to an extent was a character of its own. There was some really good technical shots and familiar angles used that have became part and parcel of the horror genre. That isn’t a criticism by any means, it adds to the audience members experience and if you can make the viewer feel like they are there, then you have succeeded. 

Overall Malevolent is a low budget horror flick that I thought was not bad. The cast and look of the film was decent and I did get some enjoyment out of the experience. Sadly the films story is a little flat at times and the ending is a little predictable, which shouldn’t be the case in any horror film. Florence Pugh probably stood out the most in the cast for her performance and I recently watch her in the Outlaw King with Chris Pine on Netflix. I think we will be seeing a lot more of Pugh in the years to come as her performance was solid. If you are a massive horror film fan then you may be left disappointed with the overall plot and lack of suspense. 

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