Hello, horrorphiles! It is time, once again, to feature a fantastic film in Underrated Horror Movie of the Month. If you are new to the column, here’s the scoop. On the second and fourth Friday of every month, I talk about a horror movie I feel is underrated and underloved. I am talking about the 2018 Netflix film Malevolent in today’s edition. Stick around to see why I think this movie deserves more love.
Brother and sister, Jackson (Ben Lloyd-Hughes) and Angela (Florence Pugh), run a phony paranormal investigation business. Together, they swindle grieving individuals into believing they are convincing their deceased loved ones to move on. Eventually, they take on a case that will change everything.
As part of the ruse, Angela pretends to have a psychic ability that allows her to hear and communicate with the dead. During one “investigation,” Angela sees something she can’t explain, something no one else saw. After this incident, she begins experiencing more strange occurrences. Jackson takes on a big project featuring an old foster home where several children were brutally murdered, and everything goes downhill.
As Angela learns more about the house’s history and experiences the supernatural at an increasing rate, terrible events unfold. Are the issues ghosts from the past or flesh and blood haunting the present?
Malevolent also stars Celia Imrie, Georgina Bevan, Scott Chambers and Steven McCole. Olaf de Fleur Johannesson directed, and Ben Ketai and Eva Konstantopoulos wrote the screenplay.
This film has a 58 percent Tomatometer Score and a 17 percent Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes.
The story is, admittedly, a bit predictable. However, there is a twist at the end that I found enjoyable. A hefty part of the plot is outlined in the premise. This fact does not eliminate the ability to anticipate what is coming. My thought is that a story worth telling is worth watching, even if you know what will happen. Even with the predictability, the storytelling, atmosphere and acting are worth watching.
Along the same train of thought, the dialogue fits the tale nicely. It flows naturally and provides vital information about each character. It is easy to envision the conversations occurring outside of a television screen.
All of the actors did an admirable job on Malevolent. My least favorite character is Jackson, and I am unsure if it is the actor or how the character is written. Perhaps it is a bit of both. As always, Florence Pugh hits all of the nuances required of the character. Her terror from experiencing the supernatural is palpable, and her interactions with other characters are spot-on.
The atmosphere is incredible; an edge-of-your-seat creepiness oozes from every scene. There are a few jump scares, but it is easy to see them coming if you are a horror lover. Nevertheless, eeriness prevails, and I found myself completely engaged throughout the film. Additionally, the sets are incredible and lend to the overall creep factor.
My biggest complaint with Malevolent is that many scenes are pretty dark. I understand this is necessary given how the setting is portrayed, but it is difficult to fully appreciate smaller details when everything is so dark.
Alright, horror fans, that’s another underrated horror movie in the books! Do I think this film is going to win awards for originality? No, but it is a fun and intriguing watch worth the time and effort. Malevolent is streaming on Netflix and is easily one of my favorite horror movies the platform has produced. Had I not already known this is a low-budget film, I would never have guessed.
Have you seen this movie? Let me know in the comments. Also, tell me which movie you think I should feature next.
Until next time, stay spooky and fabulous! Check out Malevolent‘s trailer below before you go.