Malignant

Director: James Wan

What It's About

A supernatural horror with BIG ambitions. 

An oppressed woman’s (Madison) abusive husband is murdered. As police investigate, Madison starts hallucinating other gruesome murders. She learns the murders are happening in real time as she witnesses them.  A supernatural link between Madison and the murderer provides a window for her to try to save the victims. 

What I Thought

I can’t decide if I liked it or not. I’m going to offer a spoiler-free review because I feel this is a film you really need to experience for yourself, if nothing more than to debate it. There was SO much to unpack in this movie. It was a mammoth of a film clocking in at an hour and 51 minutes. 

What I liked:

  • I enjoyed the 70s/80s horror throwback vibe with the synth soundtrack.
  • I liked the transitioning scenes into Madison’s visions.
  • The atmosphere was spectacularly grim, ominous and offered some great shots.
  • The makeup and gore effects were exceptional.
  • There were some unique kill scenes.

What I didn’t like:

  • I may have chuckled at a few scenes and lines that weren’t meant to be funny.
  • I didn’t enjoy the lead actress’ performance. I’m sure Annabelle Wallis is a lovely actress, but she seems more suited to say, soap operas.
  • The story line was confusing at points and felt like it was being tugged in a few directions at once.
  • It felt cheesy in spots. Maybe that was on purpose, I can’t speculate but, I wanted it to be better.
  • It felt really long. I think a couple of scenes didn’t even really need to be there.
  • I hated the ending line in this movie.

I LIKED those beautiful transition scenes but it was done several times which kind of took the beauty out of it. I felt at times that the story and dialogue were sacrificed for effects, but I often feel that way about James Wan films. Whether it was inspired by, or a nod to, I felt like I had seen this movie already, only in several other movies like The Ring, or House of Wax

It didn’t really pick up until about two thirds through with a BIG crescendo in the last 20 minutes. Although those sequences were cool, they almost felt video-gamish to me. I definitely did not like the ending. It wrapped up like an after school special. Very lackluster. 

The Verdict

Three out of five. This is a movie you’re either going to love or hate. I’ve asked around, and it’s pretty divided. The efforts were there, it has all the makings of a memorable horror film but personally, I was slightly disappointed. Maybe you’ll feel differently.

Where to find it

Was available on HBO max for 30 days, now available to rent/buy on VOD. Amazon VUDU

Photo: IMDB


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