Malum 2023 Movie Review
About eight years ago, I was invited to participate in writing for the now-defunct Icons of Fright. My first post was a list of best revenge films and, looking back, I’m kind of glad that list is nowhere to be found now. Soon after, I received my first box of DVD screeners. They were all in clear cases, with no artwork, each disc with the “for promotional use only” on it. One of those was Last Shift, a yet-to-be-released horror movie that I didn’t expect much from. It ended up not only being the first from the pile I watched but the first review I ever had published on any site. It’s now 2023, several sites later, and I’m now here with my thoughts on MALUM, a remake of Last Shift from the original director, Anthony DiBlasi. A full circle moment.
MALUM opens with a cop getting praise at his station for saving a group of girls from a murderous cult. He is hesitant from celebrating as one died during the rescue mission, but his peers try to get him to focus on his success as this event was a big deal in the media. He appears to have a psychotic break as he kills his fellow officers and, ultimately, himself.
Time has now passed, and his adult daughter, Jessica Loren (Jessica Sula, Split) is a newly appointed police officer. She is assigned to the last shift at a decommissioned police station, the same station where her father killed himself. Her mother, who seems to have a bit of a substance abuse issue, pleads for her to not take this job, but Jessica is determined to find any clues that would explain her father’s actions. Her shift ends up being the job from hell as she gets menacing phone calls and has to deal with a homeless man who urinates on the floor and doesn’t want to leave. On top of all that, apparitions threaten her and Jessica is unsure if the station is haunted by its past or if she is experiencing the same delusions as her father.
The general plot of MALUM sounds exactly the same as Last Shift, but fans will take quick notice that MALUM goes deeper than its predecessor. While the original protagonist feels coincidental to find herself in this station, Jessica in the remake has brought herself there with a purpose. She has a connection due to her father’s history. While the previous film took liberties by taking inspiration from Charles Manson, the cult here and its leader, Malum, are demon worshippers who utilize their sacrifices to feed into their god. Without spoiling the fun, there’s a lot more to unravel throughout MALUM than one will expect.
Sula gives it her all as the impressive lead, allowing us to be scared with her but also motivated to explore the long dark hallways without rolling our eyes. Her role as a rookie cop, motivated to prove herself and dispute her father’s legacy, keeps the movie rolling at the right pace. While MALUM after a certain point tries too much at throwing the jump scares at us, it does manage to get a couple of them right. Personally, if you can get me at least once, then you’ve succeeded, and MALUM succeeds.
The biggest concern for fans is why a remake was needed especially so soon after the original. I’m not familiar with the budgets between the two, but MALUM looks and feels like it had more resources to utilize. There are more scenes outside of the police station and the special effects are impressive. The script feels more fleshed out as the characters are given more depth which makes the story that much more interesting. It almost feels like DiBlasi, after watching his original film, went back and filled in the blanks.
Last Shift was received well at the time of release, but we all agreed that it had some kinks that needed to be worked out (especially that ending). MALUM is that rare example where a filmmaker is able to go back and revisit his work with a fresh vision. It’s with that that I can safely say that director Anthony DiBlasi makes this remake a bigger, meaner, and more gruesome ride into hell.