In this, the year of our lord 2019, I would really, really, really like for horror movies to be better. And from what I hear, some recent ones actually are better, but MALEVOLENT is not one of those horror movies. Nope, it is instead a literal paint-by-numbers, “ah, yes, I know what’s going to happen after 10 minutes”, “oh, right, I remember this from movie X” kind of flick. Which, admittedly, is sometimes what one is looking for, but dammit, I so was not and I am grrr-bunnies. *sad-face* MALEVOLENT is a Netflix film, so I knew the risks inherent going in, but gah. I know Netflix can do better than this ghost story/slasher/serial killer hybrid monster.
So, the movie throws us into the action immediately, which is fun – no boring buildups or get to know the one-dimensional characters bullshit. This is something of which I def approve. We’ve got a brother & sister going to Uni in Glasgow in 1986 (I’m really not sure why the year was an important factor; this literally could have been any point in time. The only explanation I have for them making sure to tell us the year is so the characters won’t have cell phones to call for help.) Anyway, brother and sister – Jackson & Angela – and their friends/significant others, Beth & Elliot, run a fake paranormal investigation/ghostbusting service to make extra money (or in Jackson’s case to pay off scary mobster guys for reasons unknown). They go to people’s houses and Angela pretends to have the psychic touch while the others videotape the encounter, smooth-talk the people they’re conning, and fake voices, etc. with tape recorders. People praise them as heroic wonders, and they’re apparently making big bucks (but not enough to pay off the pimps or whoever Jackson owes). No harm, no foul, right? (Except for Jackson when the drug dealer dudes try to smash his face in.)
BUT apparently, Jackson & Angela’s mum actually was psychic. No one believed her, though, and it drove her crazy eventually, and she killed herself. Jackson is still super pissed about all that (understandable) but it’s turned him into an abusive dick to his sister (not understandable & totally not cool, and honestly, the entire movie I was waiting for her to punch him in the face. She never did though and I was very sad. Again.) After the first case we see them do at the beginning of the film, Angela suddenly finds herself…seeing things and hearing voices! *gasps* The fake psychic has become a real psychic (ghost-seer?). Clearly, Angela can’t tell anyone about this though because it would, like, totally ruin the fakeness of their con which would be tragic.
The next case they get is one Angela desperately does NOT want to do because it’s at some freaky murder house where a bunch of little girls were serial killed. If I could suddenly see dead people, I’d probably ixnay that one too. But Jackson is an asshole, and he & Beth are going to be dead people themselves if he doesn’t pay back the Scottish mafia or whatever, so he tells Angela to suck it up because they are so totes doing this. I really hate him. Soooo, it’s off to the murder house they go! Huzzah! And, surprise, surprise, there are a bunch of dead little girls trying to tell them something, everything goes horribly, and people die. The End.
Questions I have about this film:
- Why was the part with the loan shark/mafia/pimps necessary? It was pretty pointless as a way to get Jackson to take the job Angela didn’t want because Jackson is a little bitch and would’ve taken the job anyway, duh. Adding in that 2-minute scene where he gets bashed in the face with a pipe, while satisfying, was absolutely unneeded.
- Why exactly is Jackson an abusive bastard to his sister? Being devastated by the loss of his mom would be one thing but treating his sister like dirt, peppered with the “you know I love you, right? You’re so awesome” – like, literal textbook definition of abuse – is totally another. How are these things even correlated? Did mom like Angela better? Is it because he owes Gramps money so Gramps likes Angela better? So mystified…
- If ghosts are real and not in people’s minds, then how did these guys fake ghostbusting actually work? People were praising them as having saved them & stuff, which would make sense if the ghost activity was all in the people’s heads, but since it’s been ascertained that ghosts do indeed exist in this universe – how did they manage to achieve this?? They seemed to have not a single complaint.
- Do you think you could’ve made it less obvious who the killer was? Is there a reason you made it so obvious so early on?
- Why? Just why? *sighs*
If you need a movie on in the background while you work, this one will work in a pinch but otherwise, you might want to skip it. Formulaic + annoying AF characters + no mystery + no scares = not a very fun time. Def better ghost stories out there. Go watch them instead. Totes.