Nature vs. Nurture in the Dumb, Dull Bereavement


Written and directed by Stevan Mena
Crimson Films
Opens March 18, Village East

One of the great dumb-movie fallbacks is the classroom scene in which the day’s lesson plan illustrates the movie’s theme, thus linking audience and high-school student. In Bereavement, the chalkboard discussion is Nature vs. Nurture—and the movie, for much of its build-up, cross-cuts between two small-town family dramas. In one, a recently orphaned teenager, Allison (Alexandra Daddario), adjusts to life with her uncle (Michael Biehn), while flirting with a that-boy’s-no-good local (Nolan Gerard Funk) and—blessed distraction!—the camera. In the other, the degenerate scion of a lineage of butchers, Graham (Brett Rickaby), teaches perverted life-lessons to a long-held-captive adolescent “son.” The rundown family abattoir has become Graham’s private dungeon, where he illustrates the family trade on abducted young women and preaches the worship of totemic scarecrows while jabbering crazy-guy dialogue (“How frightening when it’s our own flesh”). Writer-director Stevan Mena (Malevolence) teases at the eventual intersection of these storylines with harsh cutaways and gotcha! moments as audience members and the film’s characters brace themselves to meet one “father,” only to get the other. If the intention is satire of paternal authority, Bereavement—miraculously as dull as its title—is neither far gone enough to be funny nor well thought-out enough to be disturbing.

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Amanda Smith
Amanda Smith

Did you know this movie is a prequel? The whole film would make a LOT more sense if you did. It explains how Martin became the psychopath he was in Malevolence. Looking around the net, it seems very few know that other than Wikipedia. The other critics who mention Malevolence in their review rate this movie much better.


I saw this movie twice. One on long island and once at theblong island film festival . This guy is way off base and probably did even see the whole movie as the audience I viewed this with , both times to a packed house, loved it and were scaredoutof their minds . All I can say is this review is way, way off base. A total joke.


This guy is a snob... the film is actually good and in no way deserves this kind of arrogant review.


Hey, it's a horror film, therefore it must be bad, right guys? right? Our newspaper is too high brow to give a good review to trash like this, right?



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