Bereavement (film)

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Directed by Stevan Mena
Produced by Stevan Mena
Written by Stevan Mena
Starring Michael Biehn
Alexandra Daddario
Brett Rickaby
John Savage
Spencer List
Valentina de Angelis
Nolan Gerard Funk
Kathryn Meisle
Peyton List
Music by Steven Mena
Cinematography Marco Cappeta
Edited by Steven Mena
Crimson Film
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release date
  • July 16, 2010 (2010-07-16) (Long Island Expo)
  • March 4, 2011 (2011-03-04) (United States)
Running time
103 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2 million
Box office $10 million [1]

Bereavement is a 2010 American psychological thriller film starring Michael Biehn, Alexandra Daddario, John Savage and Nolan Gerard Funk. It is a prequel to director Steven Mena's previous film Malevolence, and centers on a child who is abducted and forced to bear witness to a madman's crimes.


Martin Bristol, a young boy with congenital analgesia, is kidnapped by psychotic Graham Sutter. At his farmhouse, Graham cuts Martin's cheek before butchering a captive young woman in front of him. Martin attempts to escape, but Graham catches him and returns him to the farmhouse, where he continues to hold the boy and future female victims captive.

Over the next five years, Graham brutally butchers several young women, forcing Martin to watch as the trauma slowly desensitises him. Throughout the film, Graham talks and argues with the skull of a bull hung on the farmhouse wall, apparently seeing it and several others like it around the property as some kind of deity. It is strongly implied that Graham was abused as a child by his father and eventually murdered him, keeping his corpse concealed under a sheet in the attic.

Teenager Allison Miller comes to live with her paternal uncle’s family, Wendy (her cousin), Jonathan (her uncle), and Karen Miller (her aunt) in Minnersville, the same town in which Graham commits his crimes. While out for a run, she sees Martin from the window of the supposedly abandoned slaughterhouse next to Graham’s farmhouse. When she is almost hit by a truck, she meets a local teenager, William, with whom she forms a relationship of sorts. One night, her uncle Jonathan intervenes as Allison and William are about to have sex.

The next day, Allison goes to the farmhouse after again seeing Martin in the slaughterhouse window and is captured by Graham. When she doesn't return home, Jonathan drives to the farmhouse, looking for her, but Graham shoots him dead. William drives by, sees Jonathan's abandoned car, becomes curious, investigates, and finds Allison locked inside a cold meat room. William attempts to save her but is immediately killed by Graham. Graham has become fearful of Martin, because of his inability to feel pain and angrily stabs him through the hand with a knife which Martin does not react to. Allison escapes pushing a metal rod through a hole in the door and lifting the lock mechanism. She finds Martin after his hand has been stabbed on to the kitchen table by Graham and removes it before carrying him out of the farmhouse.

Graham takes Jonathan's body to his home, and attacks Karen, who tells Wendy to run. Wendy runs upstairs and hides in her closet, tearfully listening to her mother die. Allison arrives at the house, just as Graham has set it on fire. As Graham finds Wendy and decides to use her to replace Martin as his assistant, Allison interrupts and stabs Graham twice, before he flees. Allison attempts to call 911 but Martin stops her by stabbing her to death, his mind now completely twisted by years of Sutter’s abuse. He then goes upstairs and kills Wendy off-screen before leaving the burning house. Martin returns to the farmhouse and attacks the injured Graham with an axe. As Martin prepares to kill him, Graham says his finale words of thanks and pryde towards “his boy” and allows Martin to kill him. The next morning, the authorities arrive at the smoldering ruins of the miller house and rule it an “accident”.

Martin begins to construct a new skeletal shrine in the farmhouse, with the bull's skull as the head. Martin then stares out the window, waiting for his next victim.

In a post-credit scene set five years later, a young girl named Courtney Harrison, flees from an unseen pursuer. She enters the farmhouse and discovers Martin, who is now an adult, sitting at a table. When she asks for help, Martin slowly turns around, as the film ends.



During post-production, director Stevan Mena's initial cut of the film was three hours long. Things cut from the film included overtly gory scenes. The film is a prequel to Malevolence, stating "The only way to describe it is like an epic horror story. It's more in the vein of The Shining, whereas the original was kind of like Halloween or Friday the 13th. Bereavement is more of a character study".[3]


The film was shown at the Long Island International Film Expo on July 16, 2010.[2] The film was released in theaters on March 4, 2011.


Bereavement has received mixed to negative reviews from critics. The film currently holds a 44% "rotten" rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 4.9/10 based on 15 reviews.[4] Dread Central's Steve Barton gave the film a 3 out of 5 stars and said, "Fans of Malevolence will most likely eat this one up because it truly plays like one person's nightmarish descent into a world of total madness. It gives you a feel for who Martin Bristol is and why he's so lethal. On that level the film is a complete success. We just wish there was an equally as successful editor to go along with it."[5]


  1. ^ Bereavement 2010 Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ a b "Long Island International Film Expo". Long Island International Film Expo. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
  3. ^ Gingold, Michael (2 February 2010). "Director's update on Malevolence sequel Bereavement". Fangoria. Retrieved 24 September 2010.
  4. ^ "Bereavement". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  5. ^ Barton, Steve (3 March 2011). "Bereavement". Dread Central. Retrieved 4 December 2013.

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