Malicious (2023) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Malicious (2023) Review

Horrorific content by angie on September 08th, 2023 | Movie Review | Home Invasion, Survival, Drama, Psychological, Thriller, Mystery, Confined, Maniac, B-Horror

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It's about the McCabe family, whose weekend getaway is turned upside down when a mysterious stranger knocks on their door.

Malicious was directed by John Fallon (The Shelter) and stars Kevin InterdonatoNick BaillieMelissa Anschutz (Bestseller), Alix SchwartzJohn Fallon (Dead Shadows, 100 Feet, and Final Exam), and Danilo Rocha.

Malicious Review

Exploring the abuse of power is a recurring theme in literature and film, captivating audiences with its portrayal of how power can corrupt and the challenges it faces in remaining untarnished. From superhero blockbusters to intense dramas, narratives addressing this theme resonate with viewers due to their reflections on real-life issues. In fiction, it's often cathartic to witness those who misuse power facing consequences for their actions.

"Malicious" is a film directed by John Fallon and co-written by Fallon and Kevin Interdonato. The movie features performances by Kevin Interdonato, Melissa Anschutz, Alix Lane, and Nick Baillie. The plot revolves around a family's vacation in a peaceful cabin far from civilization. However, their tranquility is shattered when a mysterious stranger seeks their assistance. As the family decides to help this enigmatic individual, they unwittingly open a Pandora's Box that will forever alter their lives.

The film's title, "Malicious," may appear puzzling, especially when it's revealed early on that an earlier title was a corruption of the word "break." Nevertheless, the title's ambiguity might have been intentional. What's unequivocal, though, is the film's thematic direction. From its opening scenes, it subtly and effectively foreshadows the central theme without explicitly articulating it, demonstrating deft storytelling.

"Malicious" exemplifies solid writing and performances, compensating for its apparent low budget, as evidenced by its cinematography quality reminiscent of budget television productions. The film distinguishes itself through its writing and acting, providing a compelling narrative despite the familiar premise.

Kevin Interdonato, who stars in the film and co-wrote it, takes on a substantial role. His portrayal of Jesse, the enigmatic character at the story's forefront, exudes authenticity and a sense of danger. Despite Jesse's mysterious nature, a few subtle lines provide sufficient insight into his character. At times, Interdonato's performance may come across as slightly exaggerated, but within the context of the character, his intensity feels justified.

The supporting cast also delivers commendable performances. Nick Baillie's portrayal is detestable, evoking a visceral reaction from the audience. Alix Lane and Melissa Anschutz, though in more minor roles, effectively convey their characters' emotions, with Lane particularly shining in her portrayal of repressed feelings. Lane's performance suggests a promising future in the industry. The ensemble's dedication to their roles is the film's standout feature.

However, "Malicious" falls short in terms of plot depth. The story revolves around an interrogation centered on a central theme, which remains undisclosed to preserve the film's intrigue. Yet, apart from this central theme, the narrative could be more straightforward. The film's protracted first act may feel like an attempt to build tension, but the ensuing conversations fail to sustain interest. Although the audience anticipates a significant development, the pacing in this section does not create the desired stress level.

Furthermore, the film incorporates an action sequence that feels disjointed and confusing, primarily due to its abrupt introduction and the less compelling performances by the actors involved. This action segment appears out of place and serves as an external conflict for one character but lacks coherence with the rest of the story.

Worth Watching?

In summary, "Malicious" is a commendable film that successfully generates tension and intensity. The standout aspect of the movie is its performance, while the visual and narrative elements may come across as conventional or sparse. The film addresses contemporary themes, making it relevant to today's world. Though it exhibits peculiar choices, particularly in the middle section, the film concludes with a satisfying sense of closure in its final moments.

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