- 1 hr 43 min
Bereavement is a horror film directed and written by Stevan Mena. The movie centers around a young boy named Martin Bristol (played by Spencer List), who is kidnapped by a psychopath named Graham Sutter (played by Brett Rickaby). Martin is held captive for five years and forced to witness Sutter's brutal crimes against other hostages. Meanwhile, a woman named Allison Miller (played by Alexandra Daddario) moves to the same town with her uncle, Jonathan (played by Michael Biehn), and takes a job at a meatpacking plant. The film is a prequel to Mena's 2004 film, Malevolence, and serves as an explanation for the character of Martin Bristol who is featured in both films. From the very beginning, the audience is treated to a sense of unease as they witness the kidnap of Martin. The film then jumps forward in time to five years later, where Martin is being held captive by Sutter. The scenes featuring Sutter committing his heinous crimes are incredibly graphic and create a feeling of intense horror, leaving little to the imagination. The juxtaposition of these scenes with the scenes of Martin's daily life in captivity creates a sense of despair and helplessness, both for Martin and for the viewer. As for Allison, she forms a bond with Martin as they cross paths multiple times, and she starts to suspect that something strange is happening in the town. Jonathan also becomes involved, trying to solve the mystery of the disappearance of several young women in the area. The two storylines converge as Jonathan discovers the truth about Sutter and aims to put an end to his evil deeds. Throughout the film, the themes of grief, loss and trauma are explored in a poignant and disturbing way. The film never shies away from showing the brutality of Sutter's actions, and the psychological effects on Martin are portrayed with heart-breaking sincerity by List. The suspenseful score adds to the spooky atmosphere, as does the dark cinematography which creates a sense of foreboding even during the daylight scenes. One of the standout performances in the film comes from Alexandra Daddario, who plays a character much different from the damsel-in-distress roles she's often portrayed in. Allison is a strong and resilient woman who fights for what's right, and Daddario gives a convincing performance that makes us root for her throughout the film. Michael Biehn, too, brings gravitas to his role as Jonathan, a seasoned detective who is haunted by his past. Overall, Bereavement is a chilling and intense horror film that doesn't skimp on the gore, but also has a heart amidst the darkness. Mena's direction is solid, and the performances from the cast are nuanced and believable. Fans of the genre won't be disappointed, but be warned: this film is not for the faint of heart.