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Malum (2023)

'Malum' is a recent remake of one of my favourite horror movies to come out in recent years, 'Last Shift' from 2014. What's unusual about this remake is that it comes from the same writer and director of the first attempt and in less than 10 years apart. Not that I am opposed to this film in any way, I'm just more curious to understand why director Anthony DiBlasi deemed this necessary and what it was about his first version that he thought needed improvement in enough to start over again.

Jessica Sula this time takes on the lead role as rookie Officer Loren, who finds herself working the last shift in a closing down police station. It wouldn't be fair to compare Sula to that of actress Juliana Harkavy who played Officer Loren in the original, as I found them both to bring different attributes to the character. Sula is a very talented actress and her performance here is a perfect example of that, being the sole focus of this film for a big percentage of its 90 minute run time, I found myself constantly engaged by her performance.

Although expanding upon its lore and story development established in the first film, 'Malum' still plays out in pretty much the same way as the original. With many of the scenes being almost identical to the first, it kind of makes you ask the question, what was the point of this? And whilst this narrative development does provide more context to the cult and their purpose unlike the first one, I found this better understanding comprised a lot of the tension that comes with the unknowing that the 'Last Shift' managed to execute so flawlessly.

'Malum' also ups the ante when it comes to the blood and gore. Intertwining flashback and dream sequences that, if I'm being honest, really only serve the purpose of showcasing the impressive practical effects that have been used in this production. And whilst all of these scenes look fantastic, it felt unnecessary for the story being told here. The basic tension filled plot from the first film felt so washed out with the constant attempts to make this remake bigger and better than the first - ultimately comprimising everything that made 'Last Shift' so incredibly uncomfortable.

Whilst I can appreciate the vision that writer and director Anthony DiBlasi had by wanting to create a better version of one of his earlier projects (I'm sure there are many directors out they who given the chance would likely want to do the same thing), I just can't understand when given the opportunity to, he delivered a subpar effort in comparison. 'Malum' brings nothing new to the table and plays out in the exact same beat for beat as 'Last Shift' only with less of the intrigue and intensity that he produced the first time around. That's not to say on its own 'Malum' is a bad movie, it just comes across as an overall pointless effort and begs the question as to why?

Given the option, I would recommend 'Last Shift' over 'Malum' to anyone, knowing there is a better version of this already in existance I can't see personally why I would ever revisit this movie again.



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