Bereavement is the second part to a trilogy written and directed by Stevan Mena.
This bloody, gritty instalment begins with the abduction of a young boy named Martin who has a medical condition which means that he has no sense of pain.
His abductor is a particularly disturbed and deluded man known as Sutter, who spends his days abducting girls before torturing and killing them for an imagined higher power, from which he receives instruction.
When Sutter recognises Martin’s condition, he adopts him as an unwilling protégé and forces him to help with his evil deeds.
As Sutter continues to abduct, torture and kill, Martin attempts to escape the dark path along which he is being led. And when a young girl named Allison discovers him incarcerated, they must both face their fears and fight for survival.
Bereavement draws from a number of influences, or at least it appears to. Sutter’s insane conversations with an imaginary higher power are very similar to those that Norman Bates would have with his mother in the Psycho films. The brutal torture scenes and general atmosphere are very reminiscent of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the unforgiving, hopeless, blood drenched scenarios reminded me of Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects.
I haven’t yet seen the first part of this trilogy, Malevolence, but it seems quite clear that the purpose of Bereavement is to show how the abducted boy, Martin, grows transforms into something evil because of his experiences. He’s a modern day Michael Myers. Or at least has the potential to be.
Although I am obviously a horror fan, I’m not generally a fan of this particular flavour, which opts to paint a very stark, real and hopeless picture. For this reason it’s kind of a struggle for me to aside my personal opinions and give an assessment which would be fair in the eyes of those that love this stuff.
This isn’t my kind of film.
But what I can say is much like the aforementioned The Devils’s Rejects, Bereavement doesn’t pull any punches.
It builds bonds between the audience and the often vulnerable characters before destroying them, evoking raw emotions – which is Mena’s intention from the outset.
I can appreciate the quality of Bereavement and the fact that it does a very good job in achieving it’s purpose.
The revulsion and discomfort that you feel when watching it are powerful, and although it does tread the thin line of acceptability, it manages (just) to do so in a way that doesn’t glorify or sexualise the acts being committed.
Of course, that won’t prevent it from still being too much for some to stomach.
Bereavement is no walk in the park. It’s likely to leave you feeling emotionally battered and abused and it would be easy to shun it as yet another ‘torture porn’ film.
But if you’re looking for a well produced and captivating-yet-bleak horror film that will play on your mind, Bereavement will be sure to satisfy you.