Title – Malignant (2021)
Director – James Wan (Saw)
Cast – Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young
Plot – Tormented by a serious of grisly visions, Madison Mitchell (Wallis) discovers that these shocking occurrences are in fact real life events. The only hope Madison has of freeing herself from these horrors is to track down the person responsible for what she is seeing.
“I’m having visions”
Review by Eddie on 29/102/2021
Returning to the horror roots that jumpstarted his career all the way back in 2004 with the genre-defining Saw, Australian export James Wan returns to his genre of choice for the first time since 2016’s The Conjuring 2 and a nice little foray into the comic-book realm with the billion dollar hit Aquaman, with the wildly crazy and blood-splattered B-movie masquerading as a Hollywood offering Malignant.
Defying explanation, (the less you know about Malignant the better) while Wan’s film follows many staples he has mastered over his near two decades in the industry such as creepy houses, jump scares (of which there aren’t many in this effort which is more focused around shock value) and a moody score by regular collaborator Joseph Bishara, Malignant is a different kind of beast than what we’ve come to expect from Wan, who uses his fairly decent sized budget here to go all out creating something that at times is incredibly frustrating and disjointed and at other times can’t look away gripping.
Without delving into outright spoiler territory, many viewers will be left wondering early on if there’s any reason to stick around and discover the meaning behind Annabelle Wallis’s poor old Madison Mitchell’s grotesque visions that turn out to in fact be real life events taking place courtesy of a villain we come to know as Gabriel, with Wan struggling to get things going early on and while there’s a lot that doesn’t function on all cylinders in the early and mid-sections of Malignant, come the lead up to the finale you can’t help but be shocked and oddly impressed by what Wan has managed to get away with in the Hollywood system.
Always a very visually inventive director and one that can create mood and atmosphere with only the bare minimum of opportunities, the latter stages of Malignant allow Wan to go all out in some of the craziest scenes and scenarios you’re likely to catch in a feature film this year and go a long way in making Malignant a film worth your time, especially as we learn more about Gabriel’s origins and what exactly is driving the monstrous creation to go about his business in the unsuspecting city of Seattle.
It’s a shame the rest of the film doesn’t have as much fun as its final act, Malignant feeling as if in some ways Wan had too many ideas and possibilities to focus on leading up to his end game and while overall it’s one of his weaker directional efforts, there’s enough freshness and new ideas bought forward here to make this horror affair one aficionados need to make time for, just with expectations in check.
Final Say –
Not everything works in James Wan’s return to the horror marketplace but Malignant’s insane and eye-popping latter stages do a good job of making up for what’s come before it, proving once more that Wan is one of the best in the business when it comes to chills and spills.
2 1/2 precarious parking spots out of 5