Reviews: Malady

Ms. Shafer reviews the disturbing drama, Malady

"Put that away! You don't know
where that hand has been!"
With the colossal presence of shoot-em-up action flicks laden with the most expensive special effects that money can buy, here sits Malady. It is defined by its only two characters that have few words shared between them however have proven to steal the show one scene at a time. Speaking from a materialistic point, the film does little to provoke more than enough cerebral stimulation to leave you feeling dirty and almost in a “Wait, what the hell just happened?” sort of vibey way. There are times when the film really struggles to keep your attention fully centered but doesn’t offer an ounce of disappointment when it comes to atmospheric story building at a constant glacial stealth. Director Jack James, known more for the visual effects bullet points listed on his resume, shows an aesthetically rich standpoint otherwise not commonly seen in mainstream film.

Malady is the modern-day, spiritually combusting love story of Holly (Roxy Bugler) and Matthew (Kemal Yilidirim) that does a stellar job right off the bat introducing you to these harrowing characters but instead, without extensive detail or backstory. The performances are beautifully acted with affluent emotion that is almost too laborious to watch at times, but evolve into a fundamental element of the film, almost eradicating the need for verbal cues or dialogue at all. In retrospect, these characters could probably go the full one hour and forty minutes length of the film without saying a word and could let their eyes tell the entire story. Matthew and Holly’s newfound relationship begins to be tested however, as Matthew discovers that his mother, played by Jill Connick, is stricken with illness. Emerging from the vortex of grief herself, Holly encourages Matthew to pay a visit to her, hoping to reconcile and patch together what battered and broken the relationship Matthew and his mother once had.

Aside from the story building factor that never seems to launch itself from its starting point, Malady is an untarnished and fickle drama that unfortunately leaves the viewer wanting more until the bitter end. The characters themselves are purely one dimensional and don’t garner any relatable raw emotion. The localized premise was to artistically follow two love struck souls, but instead is replaced with a passive melancholic incline where a single pin drop could alter the direction of the film. The film also has its fair share (aka, any at all) of gritty softcore sex, conceptually shown in a sense that hooks a gravitational pull around you and releases without ever biting. Malady hastily joins two souls together and shares their passionate unity, but with any foreboding relationship comes a precarious past that no one could possibly ever prepare for.


-Sarah Shafer

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