Malevolence Stevan Mena

As The Blair Witch Project proved back in 1999, money isn't everything when it comes to making a good, scary horror film. Unfortunately, money can fall into the wrong hands — the hands of some amateur who thinks that with $450,000 he can make a horror film. And so first-time director Stevan Mena did. Malevolence is a low-budget slasher flick that begins with three unconnected storylines that eventually meet in a bloody bang at the end. The only problem is you never want to see the end. Or even the middle for that matter. While it's getting harder these days to come up with a good original concept for a fright flick, it's upsetting when you see such a shoddy and careless display of filmmaking, where the only idea is to use someone else's. Mena has not simply mimicked Hooper, Craven, Cunningham and Carpenter, he's stolen their ideas and made not just one of the worst horror films but one of the worst films of recent memory. Casting nobodies is not always a problem, but the feeble actors he has chosen really have no clue what their jobs entail. Instead they push their lines into such extreme overacting that it makes the cast of Slumber Party Massacre III Golden Globe worthy. His killer is possibly the biggest sin: a blatant rip-off of Jason Voorhees, circa Friday the 13th: Part 2, with a sack on his head, slow paced movements and invincible superpowers. There is no element of surprise, as everything is foreshadowed with the weakest and sloppiest teasers. The pièce de résistance though is Mena's (un)original score. He literally pinches bits of Harry Manfredini's soundtrack from the first Friday the 13th and mixes it with abrasively loud and piercing sound effects that create suspense when there is nothing present. As far as extras go, there is a documentary on the "making of" the film where Mena admits a "subtle influence" came from TCM and other low-budget horror films; he even manages to use the words "derivative material" without cracking a smile — something I could not do. Apparently the crew were even arrested by authorities for shooting on unwarranted property. Unfortunately, they were released, just like this god-awful film. Plus: commentary, deleted scenes, rehearsal footage. (Anchor Bay)