I normally try to give every movie I see an optimistic first watch and go in with a positive attitude. But when a movie is bad, I don’t sugar-coat that its bad. Like how Chernobyl Diaries failed to be scary by making a bunch of people run around a ruined abandoned city and you barely see anything chasing them until the end. I sat down and watched the movie Malevolent and was disappointed by it, hoping for a good ‘fake psychics going into a haunted house and seeing true horror.’ While this exact thing happens, it’s so horribly written that you can’t enjoy it. Malevolent stars Florence Pugh and Ben Lloyd-Hughes as sibling fake ghost hunter-psychic team Angela and Jackson, Jackson being the one who came up with the idea of scamming people using ghost hunting and psychic mediumship to prey on people’s grief.
The only problem is Angela isn’t faking her psychic abilities. These abilities are seemingly inherited from their mother whom we find out much later committed suicide. Jackson also uses their mother’s reputation to promote Angela’s powers to potential clients. Jackson wants to continue the scam as he owed his grandfather and loan-sharks a considerable amount of money but Angela doesn’t want to continue feeling too many parallels with her late mother.
Normally with any movie you find at least one-character worth redemption or at the very least likeable but everyone in this movie had the character depth of a shallow puddle on a dry day. Even poor Elliot the camera man just stands around until he falls through a floor and breaks his damn ankle trying to follow Angela around. Even side characters don’t have much depth until you meet their Grandfather who dissolves into screaming and ranting about Jackson and Angela’s poor dead mother.
Moving from characters, the movie itself feels incomplete to me, constantly jumping from scene to scene and feeling like there are missing scenes. I haven’t been this confused since I saw the Fantastic Four reboot and it felt like a whole chunk of the movie was missing in the middle. The movie feels rushed all the way up to the point of meeting Mrs. Green and finding out why she called this group of investigators. It’s basically felt like “oh here’s a bunch of different characters, some light background story for them, now off to the spooky house!”
The plot alone has more holes than swiss cheese and you can see the ‘plot twist’ coming from a mile away, cause honestly the old Mrs. Green has as much of a poker face as a trash can. I tried to give them kudos on something but the only kudos I can give this movie is the jump scare at the beginning with a mannequin, mostly because I find mannequins to be terrifying. I feel as if the true villain in this movie isn’t Mrs. Green or the killer, it’s really Jackson. He’s constantly scamming money from poor families trying to find closure after the death of a loved one and when his sister wants to stop scamming people, he gets angry over it and accepts the next job despite his crew not really wanting to go along with it.
For entertainment sake, this was a good movie to just sit and veg out to but if you’re looking for a good scare, this isn’t one of those movies. I honestly give it One out of Five old 80s portable TVs just for giving me something to watch on a rainy day.