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Film / Malevolent (2018)

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Malevolent is a 2018 Netflix original Horror film directed by Olaf de Fleur Johannesson, written by Ben Ketai and Eva Konstantopoulos (based on the novel Hush also written by Konstantopoulos), and starring Florence Pugh, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Scott Chambers, Georgina Bevan, James Cosmo, and Celia Imrie. Angela (Pugh) and Jackson (Llyod-Hughes) are a brother and sister team in 1986 Glasgow, Scotland who run a business expelling ghosts, using their mother's legacy as a psychic to provide credibility. It's all a scam, aided by Jackson's girlfriend, Beth, and Elliot, their camera man. When Angela starts seeing and hearing things, she tries to get out of the business, but Jackson, in debt to loan sharks, insists on one last job, Mrs. Green's manor. Three foster girls were murdered at that house, reputedly by Mrs. Green's son, Herman, and Angela quickly learns that their spirits are not quiet...

This film exhibits the following tropes:

  • The '80s: The movie is set in 1986.
  • Asshole Victim: This is how Mrs. Green viewed the murders of the three girls, though given her own mother's methods of discipline this is likely due to her own warped view of morality.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Averted. Angela's grandfather's dog starts barking frantically while she's visiting, which normally would be a cue in this sort of film for ghosts to show up, but nothing happens.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: When Herman is killed by El Mrs. Green is besides herself with grief.
  • Hope Spot: Near the end of the film, after Jackson is dragged off by the villains, Angela sees him walking down the road. Then he turns around, revealing that all his wounds from being beaten and having his mouth stitched shut are gone—he's dead.
  • Loan Shark: Jackson is desperate to make enough money to pay off the shady figures he owes.
  • Medicate the Medium: Jackson is seen popping pills throughout the film, including once after seeing a ghost. It's implied this is how he's been treating his own abilities.
  • Mouth Stitched Shut: This is how the girls were found at their death. Later in the film, Beth and Jackson get the same treatment after being captured.
  • Not-So-Phony Psychic: It seems that Angela ( and Jackson) inherited her mother's powers, and is starting to see the ghosts they've been claiming to exorcise.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: One of the indications that Angela is having a psychic episode is that blood starts leaking from one nostril.
  • Vengeful Ghost: It turns out the ghosts are entirely real, and they have a very good reason for haunting Mrs. Green—it wasn't Herman who killed them, it was her.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Supposedly, Herman. In reality, Mrs. Green sewed the girls' mouths shut and killed them because they were "too loud".