The occult/supernatural horror sub-genres has been going around for a while, with some international gems going seemingly unnoticed because of a lack of mainstream coverage. The Turkish Dabbe 4 and the Taiwanese Incantation are some of the scariest occult horror pieces that you could try out if you’re truly feeling adventurous. If you’d rather prefer some good ol’ American occult instead where young women are sacrificed to some pre-Biblical King of Hell, then Anthony DiBlasi’s remake of his 2014 horror Last Shift is right up your alley. The 2023 supernatural horror Malum follows more-or-less the same plot as its predecessor, with slight tweaks here and there and a greater emphasis on the gore. The story follows Jessica, daughter of cop Will Loren, who returns to the soon-to-be-decommissioned police station where something diabolical happened one year ago. With a few changes to the approach and the way 2023’s Jessica is perceived because of her father’s action, Malum‘s slow-burning horror really takes it to the next level during the final 30 minutes. Excluding a few obvious face-palm moments, this movie might be best enjoyed if you’ve already seen Last Shift. Here’s what happens in DiBlasi’s latest horror flick:
The severely grainy camera reveals a few young girls facing extreme distress, and there’s gory imagery of blood and guts. The theme of bovine is repeated throughout the video, where a few other women sing and dance, praising an entity they refer to as the “Low God.” Will Loren was the hero cop who raided the farm where cult leader John Malum and his followers held some girls captive with plans to sacrifice them in a ritual, but of late, he wasn’t feeling the best. However, no one expected the hero cop to murder three cops with a shotgun before blowing his own head off with the same gun, only stopping to offer his devotion to the Low God.
Jessica Loren, Rookie Cop
A year later, Jessica Loren prepares for her first shift as a cop and visits her father’s grave, where she meets her mother, Diane. It’s obvious that Jessica isn’t too fond of Diane, calling her by her first name and the rookie then goes into her father’s old precinct because she’d requested the shift. On her way, the mountain folk (cult members) harass her, and inside the deserted precinct, she’s given a hasty initiation by a rude senior. Jessica’s real reason for being at the station is soon revealed by her actions; she’s here to extract information about her dad’s killing spree. She tries opening her father’s old locker but is repeatedly harassed by prank calls where she’s called “piggy” by a woman. A homeless man stumbles onto the front door and later breaks in to look for his dead daughter, probably a victim of the cult. When Jessica tries to put him inside the holding cell, where her superior warned her not to venture, she starts seeing things. Three bodies with sheet masks and pentacles swing before her for a second, and someone leaves a pig at the front door. This pig, too, has the bloody pentacle drawn on it. Jessica, out of her heart’s kindness, brings the animal inside and keeps it locked in a room.
The Horror Mounts
Jessica finds a box inside her father’s cabinet under a fake bottom, and inside, there’s a pen drive. She also tries to treat an injured sex worker named Marigold, who’d been dumped outside the station. Marigold was describing the events from the night of John Malum’s death inside the station, when something happened to her. She begins repeating the phrase Will used before killing himself because, obviously, she’s seen something. Later, Jessica tries watching the videos on the pen drive that have Malum and his cult’s interrogations. The videos are bizarre and disturbing, and any sane person will feel a chill of unease watching a recording of a woman bashing another woman’s head in. Also in the video is the chilling revelation that Jessica’s mom, Diane, was a part of Malum’s cult and that Jessica had been baptized in the leader’s blood. Panicking, she calls her mom and informs her where she is because Diane needs to call her. Two officers who used to work with Will drop by to see how Jessica is handling things, and while trying to figure out what became of the men, she’s chased by a monstrous entity—that’s the remains of the girl whose skull had been bashed in, in the video. Jessica ends up shooting the monster, only to realize it was the pig she’d rescued.
‘Malum’ Ending Explained: What’s Jessica Loren’s Fate?
Diane bangs on the front door and is let in by Jessica. Jessica’s mom explains that Will had saved the mother and daughter, but Malum came back to reclaim the women. The police station is raided by Malum’s followers, and Jessica fruitlessly tries to save three kidnapped girls, the very same girls whom Will had saved the previous year. All three girls are killed in horrific manners, with one of them having her head ripped off by the rope from which she was hanged. Jessica shoots and kills a lot of the cult members but then finds herself in the basement, where Malum sits on his throne of hell as the demon they call the Low God finally reveals itself. It’s grotesque and revolting, and it throws its face at Jessica, and she finds herself standing in the hallway, faced with the demon. Armed with the same shotgun with which Will had taken his life, Jessica fires at the demon, only to realize it is her mother, Diane. As Jessica weeps with heartbreaking pain, she sees the dead followers of Malum crowd behind her and hysterically laugh at Jessica’s fate, while in front of her, Will clutches his dead wife’s body and anguishes. Jessica repeats the code of honor for cops that she chanted whenever panic set in and then blows her brains out. Her body is dragged away by two entities, and she finds herself sitting beside Malum in a makeshift chair.
Throughout the final 30 minutes, the cult members sang and chanted about the Low God’s arrival and that he’ll find his queen. Malum’s ghost said that Jessica had been destined to be his queen, and this was her night to be claimed by the Low God. As it turns out, ever since Malum baptized Jessica as a baby, he’s had his eyes on the girl. The demonic presence that sprung up ever since Malum and his followers killed themselves inside the precinct put Jessica under a spell to take her life. We can attest that the three kidnapped girls were indeed murdered, but the demons and dead bodies were the hallucinations Jessica was made to witness to fry her mind. She ended up taking her own life, and now she’s sitting beside Malum, so we can assume that this is hell. John Malum is the Temple Baron and Jessica is his queen. Malum ends with Jessica dying and going to hell and John Malum’s plan finally coming to fruition as the Low God, aka Malum, claims the soul he’d marked years ago.
Malum is a 2023 horror thriller film directed by Anthony DiBlasi.