Ever try desperately to find that one shimmering shard of gold in a steaming pile of fecal matter? Well, that’s what I attempted, in vain, as I sat, staring stupefied at the conundrum known as Bereavement. In fact, this film was so sketchy I’m having trouble convincing myself to write this review, as that acts as a direct form of promotion, albeit negative. This film doesn’t even merit the negative onslaught I’m about to unleash.
The story is ridiculously convoluted, with too many differing ideas stuffed into one ngular concept; that’s an approach that Don Coscarelli can pull off, but Stevan Mena is no Don Coscarelli, and his jumbled tale of sadism misses the target by a zable gap.
To give Mena a bit of credit (it’s tough for me), he does nail some sequences that carry a fun vintage aesthetic quality. One early scene looks as though it was lifted directly from Sean Cunningham’s clasc Friday the 13th, there's a few clear John Carpenter inspired shots, while another outdoor arrangement looks like it’s got Bob Clark’s influence all over it. As a freak for horror history, I enjoyed these few brief visuals. My praise however, ends just about there.
The story is strange. That’s all that can be said about it really. You’ve got a kid who feels no pain. He finds himself kidnapped by some cheeseball who’s about as menacing as Mickey Mouse. Well, Mickey has a knack for kidnapping women and bringing little boy wonder along to witness the murder of these ladies. Oddly enough, this kid seems to slowly gravitate toward the madness, and that was honestly the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. Well, maybe it was the awkward animal skull that did it, or the... oh, nevermind.
None of it works, and that's the bottom line.
Note: This trailer is probably the best aspect of the entire picture
The gore is subpar to put it kindly, and this film is clearly aiming to capitalize on the dying torture porn faze, so to offer forth some prissy mutilation sequences just doesn’t cut it. If you’re going to pull it out, be a man and put it on the table.
There isn’t a performance in the picture that qualifies as genuinely memorable (the awesome Michael Biehn is on board, and I do issue him credit for his pure awesomeness, but his talent is severely neglected and he's never afforded the chance to take his character to the extreme that seems posble), and to be completely honest, I’ve already begun to forget the film as a whole. There’s some fine cinematography, but it arrives on a dime, and disappears before viewers are even able to take it in and appreciate it.
As a whole, there’s a fine sheen to the film, but pretty post production doesn’t save this one. Neither do the extremely few points of homage, or Michael Biehn's presence for that matter. So, save your money and save 90 minutes of your life, because Mr. Mena sure as hell didn’t save anything special for viewers when he shot this shoddy effort.
A damn shame; I’d actually heard some good things about this picture. You know what they say, never trust a critic…