Review by Joseph Fayed
Cinematic depictions of the Devil that revolve around Devil worshipers trying to perform a ritual are a tale as old Satan himself. Malum is the latest example of that, and without any real suspense or interesting gore, it stands out in a negative light compared to its predecessors.
The plot follows Jessica, a rookie police officer working the night shift alone at an unoccupied police station. Her father worked there a year prior, and before his tragic death, he had exposed the brutality of a local Devil-worshiping cult. Over the course of one night, Jessica learns more about the cult her father had investigated, and discovers that she only knew the surface of the story behind what happened to her father.
This film is a remake of the director's previous film, Last Shift, from 2014. I have not seen that, but I can't imagine the story has anything else to say that would prompt a retelling of it — especially when it comes to the protagonist Jessica, who is given very little to do in the first half of the film. A remake like this should be welcoming to more shock and awe than the original, but it seemed like it relied too much on what may have scared fans of the original in 2014 without adding anything of value.
The idea that Jessica's father may have kept a secret from his daughter is not as fleshed out as it should be. Her father's background proves key to the story, but dialogue alluding to a dark secret her father kept is mostly ignored. I could see this working had there been a big third act reveal meant to shock the audience, but from what we are told, the writing is on the wall.
The performances of the cast tend to be below average all around. Our lead Jessica puts emphasis on panic in satanic panic, but her character seems too claustrophobic to her surroundings to be a standout. The supporting actors may have read one chapter of “Helter Skelter” as inspiration for their roles, and just ran with it.
Malum has Satan worshiped by many characters. Its biggest flaw is that it doesn't bother to answer why or how many of them worshiped Satan. It also doesn't bring together the worshipers with the story's protagonist effectively. Lame kills can't even save this film from being anything other than a bloody mess.
Malum is now playing in theaters.