Bereavement, by 3rd time director Stevan Mena, is not as bad as many reviews I read online make it out to be. If you are not a horror/slasher fan you will no doubt dislike it, and if you are a horror/slasher fan who has become overly jaded and bored with the same psycho-killer formula being repeated over and over ad nauseum for the past forty some years then you will be equally or more disappointed. But if you go into not expecting much new in the storyline department and can cope with a few let downs in terms of characters doing ludicrous things to propel the plot along and an inexplicable ending then you should enjoy the film. The direction is fairly tight and is a step above Mena’s Malevolence, which features the serial killer Martin Bristol as an adult. In fact, I had not yet seen Malevolence when I saw Bereavement and had no idea who Martin Bristol was or that Bereavement was a prequel to that film. I think that actually helped me to enjoy Bereavement a bit more than had I seen the first film and known that young, kidnapped Martin was being groomed by the psychotic Graham Sutter into becoming the monster he would evolve into in Malevolence.
Like Malevolence Mena also scores the film and I think does a better job this time around. Martin Bistol is not a horrible entry to the elite community of super slashers and I have a sense we will be seeing a couple more films with his character in them. The film is well shot and the editing and pace are not unbearable. I am not a whimp but I did not like some of the protracted torture and death sequences but I have seen worse. There is a fine line that separates, in my view, a decent horror/slasher film from a cheap gore film. Bereavement does not cross that line really and there is definite talent involved with the project. Slasher fans will enjoy it. Cynics and weak stomachs will not.