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Anchor Bay / 103 Minutes / 2010 / Rated R / Street Date: August 30, 2011
The definition of bereavement is grieving after a loss of something, in particular, the death of someone. A lot of characters in this movie are in a state of bereavement. The main character, a teenage girl (who actually looks like she’s in her mid to late twenties) had her parents die in a car accident, and she has to pick up the pieces at her uncle’s farm, way out in the middle of nowhere. In those self-same boonies, we have the middle-aged recluse who lives in an abandoned building – his father’s old factory – still kowtowing to the parental figure who has continued to dominate his life even beyond death. Then there is the mute boy who cannot feel physical pain, who is snatched out of his own back yard by our middle aged man to do his dirty work – literally and, after a while, figuratively. He grieves for his familiar life.
These characters are the hub of the story, which the other characters pass into and out of their lives almost as if by chance. Middle-aged man has been consumed by his conflicting emotions. Having mixed his memories of slaughtering animals with his dominant father, he now prays at the altar of a steer’s skull with stuffings like the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz. Menaced by the bovine hybrid, he abducts women and leads them like cows to the slaughter. Throughout the whole movie, I scratched my head wondering why he was praying on females and equating them to animals when his real beef (pun intended) was with his father. My best guess is that it’s because when he has to abduct a sacrificial victim, they are just easier to throw into the back of a truck. Who knows...?
The-boy-who-must-not-feel-any-pain is less of a horror flick poster child. Traumatized presumably into silence, he not only endures the emotional stress of watching screaming strangers being disemboweled in front of his very eyes, but is cut before the eyes of the women, to increase their fear. I just hope that this guy has a lot of anti-bacterial cream stashed somewhere for this poor kid who can be carved up like a jack-o-lantern and not die of an infection. Seriously: Kids who can’t feel pain can inflict serious damage on themselves and need to be watched carefully. This guy was too busy trembling at the feet of his bovine scarecrow to make sure this kid got the correct medical treatment. But there I go thinking again...
The girl meets and falls for a guy that comes from the wrong side of the cornfield. So, while the overprotective uncle, who is now the girl’s guardian and the new boyfriend duke it out for the title of her protector, she’s abducted by our deranged middle-aged man and stuck in a meat freezer awaiting her own slaughter. He wants to literally and figuratively cut her bereavement short. Our feuding males join forces to try to save our heroine from the resident maniac. Meanwhile, our heroine is trying to save the boy from the man. Much of Bereavement has an ‘I’ve-seen-it-a-hundred-times-before’ feel to it, but there are a few minor aspects that give food for thought. Each person deals with their bereavement in their own way, having varying levels of sympathy for their fellow human beings.
People in pain can be unpredictable. Don’t expect everyone you like to make it out alive.