Director: Stevan Mena
Cast: Adrienne Barbeau, Kevin McKelvey, Katie Gibson
Release Date: October 12, 2018
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7.5/10
Martin Bristol returns to where it all began: the home where he was kidnapped from. But he is not the boy who disappeared over 10 years ago. Tortured and abused at the hands of his psychotic captor, Graham Sutter, Martin is damaged beyond repair. Lurking in the shadows of suburbia, he stalks and kills without remorse. Special Agent William Perkins follows Martin’s trail of terror, desperate to capture him before he kills again. Martin’s family, mourning his disappearance for over 10 years, is informed not only that he is alive, but that he is responsible for the wave of murder sweeping through their town. Will they be able to reunite with their long lost son before it’s too late, or will Perkins have to use excessive force to bring him down?
The terrifying and unnerving saga of Martin Bristol finally comes full circle in ‘Malevolence 3: Killer’; the third and potentially final chapter in Stevan Mena’s ‘Malevolence’ horror trilogy. The third chapter picks up with the final moments of ‘Malevolence’ (the first film in the trilogy, which as a reminder is the most recent in the storyline, with the second film ‘Bereavement’ serving as a prequel and occurring prior to the events of ‘Malevolence’) and does a fantastic job from the onset, tying things together beautifully and expanding upon the final two scenes in the first film which perfectly sets the stage for ‘Malevolence 3: Killer’ without missing a beat. All the while doing a remarkable job of keeping things similar and seemingly consistent, therefore allowing the viewer to truly almost feel as if no time has passed. Certainly an impressive achievement in itself when considering it’s been well over a decade since ‘Malevolence’ was initially released.
With his mentor dead by Martin’s own hands and his hideout now compromised, Martin begins to make the journey back to the only place he knows, his hometown where he was taken from a swing set so many years ago. Meanwhile, always remaining one step behind Martin, Special Agent Perkins (McKelvey) is intent to catch or stop him at all costs; believing that his journey home may spell danger for his grieving mother Katherine Bristol (Wolfe) who remains unaware of his fate and what befell him after his disappearance. Unwilling to let Martin find his way home and kill any more victims, Perkins and his team head to Katherine’s home to set up guard and await what he believes to be his inevitable return. But not far away on another suburban block, Martin appears to have his own agenda as he quickly begins stalking and killing a group of random teenagers who are intent on enjoying a fun night. Yet when the young girl living nearby finds her mother mysteriously missing and seeks the help of her teenage neighbor, the pair quickly discovers that there is something off and this unsettling night is only getting started. At the same time, Perkins and his team are forced to tackle the unpleasant task of informing Katherine about her son’s current activities and what he suffered after that fateful day as a child, while also becoming increasingly concerned by Martin’s absence at his mother’s; the only place that seems to make any logical sense as his destination.
Once again written and directed by Stevan Mena (Malevolence, Bereavement, Brutal Massacre: A Comedy) who yet again also handles no shortage of additional tasks including the score, editing and more in addition. The third entry in the series includes a relatively decent cast that features some fairly well known individuals and plenty of less familiar faces, not to mention some returning talent from both previous films along with plenty of newcomers, featuring Adrienne Barbeau (Escape From New York, The Fog 1980), Kelsey Deanne (Dead Story), Ashley Wolfe (Bereavement, Casino Jack), Lela Edgar (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), Kevin McKelvey (Malevolence, TV’s The Wire), Scott Decker (Bleeding Hearts, TV’s Third Watch) and newcomers Katie Gibson and Victoria Mena, the majority delivering quite capable overall performances in each of their respective roles, especially for a lower budget horror film such as this.
Fellow fans of Stevan Mena’s trilogy will undoubtedly be as thrilled as me to finally have the opportunity to check out the third and possibly final chapter in the saga of Martin Bristol after all these years, especially considering for some time the film was never expected to ever see the light of day following the tragic loss of one of the film’s cast members. But after some time and what’s been reported as some necessary tweaks, changes and reshoots Mena was able to find a way to finish the film and provide us longtime fans with that final chapter we’ve been craving and for some time believed was lost for good, while still honoring lost star Scott Decker by finding a way to keep part of his final performance intact. It does a great job of setting and twisting the expectations of the viewer, while also very indiscreetly diving into what seems to be some other deeper aspects that are never directly referenced yet still feel very much intentional in the context of the trilogy (although I’ll avoid going into any further detail to avoid any spoilers).
‘Malevolence 3’ cleverly has characters follow the most hilariously absurd traits of slasher movie lore in the early stages only to subsequently use it against us once we start feeling familiar and comfortable with the pattern and a few individuals display some initiative to survive. One can’t help but be reminded of so many infamous 80’s slasher legends while witnessing Bristol do his thing, taking cues from many famous faces and then cleverly twisting them around or tinkering with the expectation to the best possible result which is just another charm of this series that’s to be applauded and really helps to set it apart from the masses; repeatedly letting the viewer feel comfortable only to catch them off guard yet again.
Overall, ‘Malevolence 3: Killer’ is a solid third (and potentially final) entry in Stevan Mena’s ‘Malevolence’ saga that does a great job of retaining the style and tone of the first film and merging the two together seamlessly; competently allowing the viewer to believe they directly connect timewise, albeit actually being shot nearly a decade and a half apart. A fun, capable and enjoyable third chapter that does a truly impressive job with its limited budget and handling the complications that production suffered due to tragedy. It may not provide concrete closure (though what horror film ever really does) yet serves as an entertaining, bloody and inventive third chapter in Stevan Mena’s noteworthy ‘Malevolence’ trilogy that pays homage to classic slasher films while twisting around the formula and doing something clever with it in many instances. The end result is a largely satisfying and well-made low budget horror film film that fellow longtime fans of the series should definitely appreciate.
Film Rating: 7.5/10
‘Malevolence 3: Killer’ Debuts October 12, 2018 in Theaters & On Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack & Digital from Mena Films