(Michael Biehn, John Savage, Alexandra Daddario, et al / DVD / R / (2007) 2011 / Anchor Bay Entertainment)
Overview: In 1989, six-year-old Martin Bristol (Spencer List) was kidnapped from his backyard swing in Minersville, PA. Graham Sutter (Rickaby), a psychotic recluse, kept Martin imprisoned on his derelict pig farm, forcing him to witness and participate in unspeakable horrors. Martin’s whereabouts would have remained a mystery, until 17-year-old Allison Miller (Daddario) comes to live with her Uncle Jonathan (Biehn).
DVD Verdict: As horror fans will know, and those looking at this DVD as just something to delve into unknowingly will find out (in the Special Features), 'Bereavement' is the highly-anticipated prequel to 2004's hit 'Malevolence.' Talented director Stevan Mena returns with a bloody tale of nature versus nurture that takes us back to the slaughterhouse first seen in 'Malevolence.'
BUT, and here's the kicker, for those that have not seen that 2004 film, it's ok, come on in. For this new film can easily be watched as a stand alone work of horror. Totally, in fact.
The film begins in 1989 with the kidnapping of six-year-old Martin Bristol (List) from his backyard swing in Minersville, PA by Graham Sutter (Rickaby), a psychotic recluse. The reasoning, as we find out in his diary's is that he wants a successor to the serial killer throne he has made; but his inner thinking is a little more skewed than that - as you'll find out!
We then jump five years forward and Sutter is still killing, but when the 17-year-old niece of Jonathan (Biehn) arrives in town (due to the untimely car accident death of both her parents), Allison Miller (Daddario) sparks new interest in the growing-up-fast young boy.
In truth, Alexandra Daddario ('Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief') steals the show here and goes to show why straight after this gig - as it was filmed way back in 2007 - she landed the job in the Percy Jackson flick. Daddario is spot on perfect in her role as the angry, confused, rebellious teen who doesn't want to be in BFE, but also sensibly knows she has nowhere else to turn right now.
And so this story of family, torment, and the nightmare absolution that unfolds before our very eyes is one incredible, blood-soaked tale from start to finish. The little indie that could, this film HAS to be up there in the lists of one of the best Horror films of 2011. Hell, of the past 10 years!
Characters die all over the place, some you don't expect and at the most unexpected of times too! The credits list over 200 extras, but I'm not quite sure where they get that from as this is a film with a small cast that fight for their collective lives throughout. Some of the death scenes are so fantastic, so unique that you have to watch from the edge of your seat, shaking your head, whilst peering through your fingers! They are simply that realistic!
Oh, and stay on through till after the credits as the film jumps five more years - but only for a minute and not for much of anything save to serve the beginning of what was to come ie: 'Malevolence.' With key cinematography by Marco Cappetta, another thrilling score, and a more intelligent script overall, 'Bereavement' is the go-to Horror film of the past ten years, trust me! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) and comes with the Special Features of:
Audio Commentary by writer/director Stevan Mena
A Behind-The-Scenes Featurette (40 mins.)