Web series The Malice Trilogy is the kind of horror story that’s been retold countless times — you might guess it’s because the average fan can’t get enough of it.
A family moves into a creepy house and terrorized by the supernatural spirits that inhabit it. Often stories of this ilk, new arrivals to the creepy house defy common logic. When you move the family into a creepy home with undead goons wandering through after dark, the sensible thing to do is haul ass out of there and check into a Motel 6.
In this case, the older folks hem and haw and chastise the young ‘uns for being unadventurous. This is not an example of parents exercising sound decision making. Nor does it seem like a satire of films with lead characters that make incredibly stupid decisions that get them into a jam. You’d have to suppose that without this outrageously naive, and rather hard-to-swallow judgment, many horror films would never get off the ground, which might not be a bad thing.
“When you move the family into a creepy home with undead goons wandering through after dark, the sensible thing to do is haul ass out of there…”
The Turners move into the home willed to them by their dearly departed granny, and it doesn’t take long for things to go sideways. Strange beings sprout out of drains and even a toilet, sometimes taking the form of a giant-sized slimy arm and claw as if it’s trying to grab a kewpie doll from one of those arcade games. In this case, the claw is seeking out living, breathing meat. Another strange being resembles a giant serpent, perhaps coated in raw sewage, and possibly wearing a feather boa — an unfortunate lavatory sharing arrangement for the family.
The plot has something to do with a humongous fungus growing underground, beneath a cemetery conveniently located just behind the Turners’ new backyard. The whats is raising Cain with the stiffs planted there, making them come alive, hobble around at night and launch raids on the unsuspecting residents. Not a plus for real estate speculators.
The cast is able enough, but the characters suffer from a lack of development. Jesse (Leanna Chamish), the mom of the family, hits the sauce hard most days. Alice (Brittany Martz), a 16-year-old with a dark sense of humor, makes the kind of wry asides that tough, knowing gals make when they’re fighting off packs of zombies. Pop (Mark Hyde), AKA “Nate,” has returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, and the house is chock full of semi-automatic weapons, probably because you never know when the next zombie apocalypse might go down.
“…a dark sense of humor, makes the kind of wry asides that tough, knowing gals make when they’re fighting off packs of zombies.”
Dad and the gals, Alice and Abbey (Rebekkah Johnson), have a bit of fun shooting up the cemetery’s gothic statues, blowing off a head here and an arm there. It’s the closest they come to enjoy each other’s company. But this sacrilege doesn’t sit well with the spooks, and there’s bloody hell to pay.
The Malice Trilogy goes through all of the paces you’d expect in a horror action thriller, but much of it is a bit too familiar. Devotees of the genre may find it entertaining, but others will likely be less than enthused. The special effects were generally convincing and spooky. But the story is hard to grasp in places and could have benefitted from a more inventive touch in building suspense at opportune moments. And with a film such as this, the suspense is something we can hardly get enough of.
The Malice Trilogy (2018) Directed by Philip Cook. Written by Philip Cook. Starring Mark Hyde, Leanna Chamish, Rebekkah Johnson, Brittany Martz, Matthew Gulbranson.
5 out of 10 Rotting Corpses