WE’RE fond of watching horror movies and we’ve been watching a lot of them lately. The problem is we’ve become so jaded nothing scares us anymore. Most of the time, instead of terrifying us, we end up laughing because of the ridiculousness of it all. Horror movies are truly hard to do, just like this one we’re reviewing now.
“Malevolent” is from Netflix and what attracted us to it is that the lead star is Florence Pugh, who gave such a good performance in “Little Women” and “Midsommar”. Set in 1986, it’s about four young people in Scotland who are ghost busters, offering their services to get rid of restless spirits in haunted homes.
The leader is Jackson (Ben Lloyd Hughes) and the supposed medium who can talk to dead people is his sister, Angela (Florence). They have Elliot (Scott Chambers) as their cameraman and Beth (Georgina Bevan) as technician. But the thing is: they are actually con artists.
Angela has no real supernatural powers to speak to spirits of the dead and they’re just scamming those who call on their services. The truth is that she is already tired of being a fake medium and duping people. Instead, she wants to resume her studies and be a psychologist.
But for one last job, she agreed to go a big house in a remote country estate where many little girls were allegedly ruthlessly killed. They meet the caretaker, Mrs. Green (Celia Imrie), who asks them to come because she always hears the dead girls screaming and won’t give her any rest.
Angela rejects the job as she has made a research about the house and learned that, many years ago, the owner’s foster children were found dead with their mouths sewn shut. But her brother Jackson needs the money to pay off some loan sharks and still accepts the job.
You know right away that this last job will really definitely be their last, as real ghosts soon appear, specially of three little girls whose mouths were sewn up. And not only that, some really bad living people also come in to the picture to terrorize them. The only thing we can say is: good for them. They deserve what they get for being scammers.
Director Olaf de Fleur forgot the first rule for a horror movie to work: the lead characters should be good persons so that we would root and cheer for them. If they’re bad people to begin with, how do you expect viewers to sympathize with them when ghosts start haunting them?
Honestly, this movie quickly runs out of steam because we don’t really care for any of the characters. Only dumb horror fans will be scared by any of its trying hard scary scenes, which is a shame since Florence Pugh is convincing in her role. But not even her convincing acting and gracious presence can save this hopeless nonsensical movie.