Main cast: Florence Pugh (Angela Sayers), Ben Lloyd-Hughes (Jackson Sayers), Scott Chambers (Elliot), Georgina Bevan (Beth), James Cosmo (Grandpa Sayers), Niall Greig (Herman Green), and Celia Imrie (Mrs Green)
Director: Olaf de Fleur
Angela and Jackson Sayers, two siblings, have a reputation for being the go-to paranormal investigators. Together with cameraman Elliot and Jackson’s girlfriend Beth, they get hired by folks who want evidence that their homes are haunted. Angela uses her psychic powers to communicate with these ghosts, but the truth is, she’s a fraud. They all are: everything is set up using technology. Hey, there’s no harm in this, right? Jackson gets to pay off his debts, and their clients find closure.
Trouble begins when Mrs Green hires them to look into her haunted home. Previously, three young girls were found dead, their lips sewn shut, and now their ghosts show up, screaming like banshees, and the new owner of the house just wants the girls to leave her and her son be. Angela wants out by this point, because she is starting to wonder whether her “gifts” are real. You see, her mother committed suicide after claiming to hear voices all around her, and Angela believes that she is starting to hear voices too, oh dear. Jackson needs the money so he accepts the gig on their behalf anway, and Angela is going to discover what being a medium really means…
Horror movies that flood streaming services these days are really touch and go where quality is concerned, and for a long time I thought I’d struck oil with Malevolent. It doesn’t rely on lazy, contrived jump scares. Instead, there is ample focus on atmosphere, mounting tension, and character development – at least where Angela is concerned. The acting is solid, although the bulk of the cast is still on the one-dimensional side. Still, there is enough to have me thinking that this is likely the occasional gem among the many horror films available out there.
Then, the movie moves into its second half, and things just fall apart dramatically. Now, Celia Imrie is very solid as Mrs Green, but everything else is pretty bad. Things start to happen for the sake of things happening, twists show up without making much sense, and characters begin doing stupid things to accommodate these twists and happenings. One character turns into a Terminator, unable to die even after suffering consecutive tortures, injuries, and more. By the time the movie ends, I am left scratching my head and wondering how things manage to go wrong so quickly and so abruptly.
Perhaps that is the true mystery of Malevolent. It is a jump scare in itself. Things seem to be going so good and then, SURPRISE! Things really aren’t so good after all!
I’m giving this one three oogies because it does have a pretty solid first half or so, but given how poor the pay off is, I can’t really recommend this movie to you guys.