Malevolence (Stevan Mena). 85 minutes. Opens Friday (March 18). For venues and times, see Movies, page 90. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Malevolence is a flat-out Texas Chainsaw Massacre rip-off. If you've seen that movie, then you've seen this, and you've seen it done far better.
TCM offered something original: a whole family of truly disturbing butchering psychos performing bizarre, unheard-of acts in a houseful of equally disturbing ghoulish folk art, and a view of humanity as beef on the hoof. Malevolence offers one psycho, one briefly seen bony shrine, stereotyped stalking and slashing, and no discernible theme.
Changing the victim pool from young people out for a drive to bank robbers and their hostages does almost nothing to distinguish the movie from the usual run-and-scream-in-shabby-houses affair. Nor does it help to lift scenes and ideas from other horror classics, notably Halloween, A Nightmare On Elm Street and Night Of The Living Dead.
In style and content, TCM went so far beyond the acceptable for its day - 1974 - that you were sure it was not made by sane people. This movie stays well within acceptable limits, and you feel equally certain that it was not made by talented people. Skip this and rent the original. It still packs a punch.