A Movie Review by Robert Long II ©2019

Starring: Brittany Martz, Mark Hyde, Leanna Chamish, Brian St. August, Michael Sigler, Matt Gulbranson, Steven Soto, Nora Palka

Written, Produced, Edited and Directed by Philip J. Cook

As of this writing this installment brings the Malice trilogy to a close. The character of Alice (portrayed by Brittany Martz) has always had an Alice in Wonderland motif, and that very much comes to the forefront in this final chapter of the series. Creatures, the Mad Hatter, a tea party all play a drug-induced part in the grand scheme of things.

For about the last six years, the character of Alice and her immediate family have been through a lot. In the first installment the family did battle with an inherited haunted house next to a cemetery. The second installment concerned itself with Alice and her posse fighting environmental waste dumping from a local industrial factory. 

The third installment deals with evil government forces trying to figure out what the heck is going on in the wilderness around the town, and what it has to do with the character of Alice (whom they have under surveillance). As this is also the final chapter in the series, It is also the chance to wrap up all the loose ends.

To be honest, I would say the 1st installment – with the haunted surroundings – was the best out of the three. Phil Cook  is a visual artist by trade, and all three installments are very CGI heavy. Because the 1st movie takes place in dark areas and at night, the CGI works brilliantly. The other two movies take place in a LOT of sunlight, and the effects do not work nearly as well.

So let me break down what I found great in Malice: Emergence, as well as the things that were also not so hot about the movie. Let’s go over the bad first. I am not sure whether or not this trilogy was written ahead of time, or as it was being produced. The reason I ask this is because the first installment is solidly written. The next two movies got very ambitious, perhaps too ambitious. By the third film the central story is still there, but there is a splintering of secondary ideas throwing a spanner into the works. It also doesn’t help that beloved characters that have been there since the beginning… disappear.

Also, I need to point out that some of the CGI effects didn’t work for me. Bad compositing, lack of shadows in some scenes, and some green screening that seemed a bit dodgy.

Now before you hang me out to dry, thinking I’m on some sort of witch hunt, let me assure you of something; there is also tons to like about this film. For instance, Cook really knows how to cast people well for the roles in his presentations. There isn’t a dud in the cast, and all the actors are engaging and convincing in their parts.

There is also an impressive amount of stunt work on display in this final installment. From car chases to motorcycle flips to gun battles, Cook keeps it visually interesting and moving.

Finally, there is a great deal of the CGI that DOES work. Phil Cook builds a Wonderland dream sequence that comes off fantastic. There are several military helicopter shots interspersed that are dead-on convincing. So yes, there are many times where everything gels and comes together.

So what is the outcome of my findings? The 1st installment is the best – hands down. The 2nd and 3rd installments are impressive and ambitious. A tighter script and better effects for both would have gone a long way towards a higher rating.

MALICE Part 1: 7.5/10 MALICE Part 2: 5/10 Malice Part 3: 5.5/10

The Malice trilogy can be found on Bluray, DVD, or streaming through Amazon.com. If you enjoy thought-provoking sci-fi/fantasy films, by all means give this a look.