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Film / Bereavement

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Bereavement is a 2010 horror film directed by Stevan Mena, starring Michael Biehn, Alexandra Daddario, Brett Rickaby, John Savage, and Nolan Gerard Funk. It serves as a prequel to Mena's 2004 independent film Malevolence.

In 1989, Martin Bristol, a young boy diagnosed with congenital insensitivity to pain, is abducted from his home by serial killer Graham Sutter (Rickaby), who keeps Martin captive in his basement, forcing the boy to watch him mutilate his many victims. Five years later, Allison Miller (Daddario), a teenage girl who lost her parents, goes to live with her uncle Jonathan (Biehn) and his family, and she soon crosses paths with Sutter and Martin.

This film contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: Ted is shown to be verbally abusive to William, and Sutter's father is implied to not be so great himself, which has certainly rubbed off in his “caring” of young Martin.
  • Adults Are Useless: Martin was abducted by Sutter while his mother wasn't paying attention to him.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Allison falls for William.
  • Asshole Victim: Sutter is killed by Martin.
  • The Atoner: Sutter is a twisted example. He's going around killing women out of a need for redemption over killing the cattle he took care of.
  • Ax-Crazy: Sutter is seriously unhinged.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Allison quickly develops this toward both her young cousin, Wendy, and her fellow captive, Martin. That last one ends up backfiring horribly onto her.
  • Break the Cutie: Allison gets subjected to this after she gets taken captive by Sutter. It culminates with her being stabbed brutally to death by Martin.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Most of Sutter's victims meet grisly ends, but of particular note is Melissa who is burned alive in an oven while her leg is impaled on a meat hook. Sutter himself is later chopped to pieces bit-by-bit with an axe.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Well, uncle in this case, but Jonathan is not happy when he catches Allison cozying up to William.
  • Doomed by Canon: Those who have seen the first film know that Martin will kill Sutter and become a Serial Killer himself.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Martin. Violently. With an axe.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Sutter seems to care about Martin in his own twisted way and his psychosis is implied to be the result of his father forcing him to kill the cattle he grew attached to.
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: By the end, only Martin, Ted, and Wendy's dog are alive.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: Allison’s concern over Martin leads directly to her capture when she tries to help him. Despite this, she still tries to rescue him, bringing him with her when she escapes. In turn, he stabs her to death and kills her cousin before returning to the slaughter house to finish Sutter off.
  • Feel No Pain: Martin has CIPA, which caused Sutter to fixate on him as he believed Martin was soulless because of it. Which becomes a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy as Martin does snap and become a Serial Killer, but only because of Sutter's horrific abuse.
  • Final Girl: Averted brutally: Allison manages to escape and fatally wound Sutter, only to immediately be butchered by Martin.
  • Good Parents: Jonathan and Karen are nothing short of nice, well-adjusted folks, a notable contrast to Ted and Sutter's father.
  • Impaled Palm: Sutter takes advantage of Martin’s CIPA by pinning him to the kitchen table this way.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Averted. Wendy is killed alongside the rest of her family.
  • Insane Equals Violent: Sutter is a genuinely mentally disturbed man, who treats a cow skull with religious reverence and butchers young women like pigs. Martin, meanwhile, shows prominent signs of sociopathy that disturbs even Sutter.
  • Missing Mom: William's mother committed suicide when he was a boy.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Allison doesn't seem to know what a bra is; at a few points, her nipples are visible under whatever top she happens to be wearing.
  • Nice Guy: William. Too bad he ends up killed by Sutter when he tries to rescue Allison.
  • The '90s: Most of the film is set sometime in this time period.
  • Papa Wolf: Jonathan is very protective of his niece. It sadly ends up getting him shot and killed by Sutter.
  • Scary Scarecrows: Sutter has one in the fields with a cow skull, which is primarily used to keep Martin in line.
  • Shovel Strike: William’s death.
  • Sound-Only Death: All we hear of poor Wendy's fate is her screaming.
  • The Stinger: Tying back to the first film, we see Courtney entering the Sutter film, asking for help, as a quiet, grown-up Martin turns to her and smiles.
  • Sudden Death: Jonathan is unceremoniously gunned down by Sutter halfway through the film.
  • Together in Death: Sutter deliberately invokes this by dragging Jonathan's long-dead corpse to lay beside Karen as she dies.
  • Troubled, but Cute: William, Allison's Love Interest, takes medication for some kind of psychological problem.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The film begins with a flashback of Sutter abducting Martin from his yard and later cutting the boy's cheek with a knife.
  • White Shirt of Death: Allison spends the last half of the film stripped down to a white tank top, including when she's stabbed to death by Martin.