Director: Olaf de Fleur
Screenplay: Ben Ketai, Eva Konstantopoulos
Starring: Florence Pugh, Celia Imrie, Ben Lloyd-Hughes
Runtime: 88 Minutes
Malevolent is another drained addition to the field of horror films in which paranormal investigators discover too late that the case they've been investigating in order to disprove might be real after all. A team consisting of a brother Jackson (Ben Lloyd-Hughes) and sister Angela (Florence Pugh) who are making money from faked paranormal encounters discovers during a job at a haunted house a case where they get less and less certain of what’s actually real.
The first entirely English language film from Icelandic director Olaf de Fleur, he’s probably the greatest hindrance to the film. Bringing nothing to the sluggish pace and tired aspects of its unimaginative screenplay, where not even the jump scares fulfil their duty beyond dull soundtrack cues. The screenplay itself is by the numbers but still in a state where few things really make much sense, and the gothic horror it’s aiming for in the first two acts gives way to an extended torture porn sequence.
Malevolent does nothing new with an initially good idea, but goes about it with no imagination or insight into the characters and leaving the less than able cast to make do – with only lead Florence Pugh trying her best despite looking bored with everything she’s doing with a forced American accent.