Bereavement ★½

Despite a formulaic adherence to the standard setup of modern slasher movies, this film writen, produced, directed, edited, and scored by Stevan Mena begins quite strongly, showcasing an accomplished visual ambition and effectively chilly atmosphere that promises to set it apart from its endless sea of generic brethren. Quite quickly, alas, Mena’s story descends into cheap and uninspired gore, gushing gallons of blood and filling the soundtrack with infinitely more irritating teen screaming than dialogue. The story sees recently orphaned Allison uncover the horrors of a young boy abducted from his home and trained to become a serial killer. Given the bland execution, it’s almost annoying that it looks so damn good, cinematographer Marco Cappetta exploiting the rural Pennsylvanian locations to astonishing effect. His talents are clear, but the same can be said for few others involved, the cast primarily lacking and the technical aspects amounting to little that we haven’t seen—and been bored of—a dozen times before.