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Interview: Bereavement Writer-Director Stevan Mena

In a market flooded with horror films, it’s easy to assume most are just low-budget productions that fit the industry formula, however, that’s far from the case with the latest from Stevan Mena. Bereavement is the prequel to Mena’s first feature film, Malevolence. Mena actually planned to shoot Malevolence before Bereavement from the very start because Bereavement was just too much for a first feature. That in itself should be enough to prove to you that Bereavement is far from your average studio slasher film; thanks to a great deal of depth, it’s terrifyingly dark and violent.

In Malevolence we were introduced to Martin Bristoll, a six-year-old boy who was snatched up by Graham Sutter (Brett Rickaby) and forced to adhere to Graham’s violent nature. Years later, when Martin’s all grown up, he puts his skills to use, terrorizing a group of unsuspecting victims. In Bereavement, we backtrack to get a closer look at exactly what went on between Martin (Spencer List) and Graham in that old dilapidated pig farm. We also meet 17-year-old Allison Miller (Alexandra Daddario) whose curiosity winds up landing her right in the middle of Graham’s torturous teachings.

After plowing through Malevolence on an ultra low budget, emerging successful not only gave Mena the confidence to tackle the meatier part of the story, but it also attracted some top-notch talent, too. In honor of the film’s March 4th release, Mena took the time to tell Shockya all about the transition from Malevolence to Bereavement, about working with his cast, his personal take on the horror genre and much more. Check it all out in the video interview below.

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Review: Bereavement

Bereavement may be a prequel to the 2004 film Malevolence and share some concepts and characters, but otherwise, it’s an entirely different film. Not only is it an incredible improvement in terms of camerawork, score and performances, but Bereavement paints a horrifyingly vivid picture of the mind of a psychopathic killer whereas in Malevolence, that element is missing entirely. It’s one thing to watch victims lose their lives one-by-one, but it’s a completely different experience when you’re well aware of what makes the villain commit such heinous crimes. Bereavement puts the frames of minds of its killers in the forefront and boy are they powerful.

Bereavement basically kicks off where Stevan Mena’s first film, Malevolence, began, but rather than jumping ahead 20 years after poor Martin Bristoll’s kidnapping in 1989, we linger a bit and get a much deeper look at exactly what happened to the six-year-old boy when Graham Sutter (Brett Rickaby) snatched him up. Martin (Spencer List) wasn’t just one of Graham’s many victims, rather an apprentice. Martin has a condition called congenital insensitivity; he can’t feel pain, an attribute that’s key to Graham’s psychopathic and somewhat transcendental methods.

Now here comes the time-lapse, but this time around, we fast-forward just five years. After a family tragedy, 17-year-old Allison Miller (Alexandra Daddario) is sent to Minersville, Pennsylvania to live with her uncle Jonathan (Michael Biehn), right down the road from Graham Sutter himself. An avid runner, Allison’s only athletic outlet in the tiny town with a high school sans track team is a five-mile run around the neighborhood. Little does she know, her route takes her right by the rundown Sutter family meat packing plant, the building in which Graham continues to teach Martin his horrific ways. It takes just one glimpse of Martin through the broken window to stir her curiosity, drawing her in to the point at which running away is no longer an option.

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