Saw. The Conjuring. Insidious.
James Wan has become one of the most well known directors in contemporary horror, constantly keeping his viewers on their toes with visceral imagery, creative jump scares, and twisty narratives. I have always admired his desire to build in the genre and give audiences something new and unexpected.
And his newest addition, Malignant, is the definition of unexpected.
How unexpected? Well to quote Kanye West and Jay-Z, “this shit cray”.
The film follows Madison (Annabelle Wallis), who begins having visions of grisly murders. Paralyzed by fear, things get worse as she discovers these nightmares are realities directly related to her repressed childhood and a mysterious figure, Gabriel.
Malignant can be best reviewed by dividing the movie in three acts.
The first two acts of the film play out like an eerie murder mystery or a giallo. It’s intriguing enough to keep you hooked with fascinating and sleek camerawork and ultimately, the unraveling of the core mystery: “is Gabriel real or imaginary”?
This all leads up to the third act, with a plot twist so insane and so shocking, it will have you gasp or giggle.
No. Seriously. It’s that LUDICROUS that you need to see it to believe it.
Once you kind of just accept the WTF direction the twist puts you in, it’s a gnarly finale filled with lots of action and blood. It’s 100% not where I saw this movie going, and that unpredictability makes it more of a memorable film going experience.
And although the wild twist will have critics and audiences talking, Wan proves that horror movies do not have to follow the same formula and can still surprise you. That there’s still room to challenge the genre and change the game. And for that, I say, “bravo”.
Final Thoughts: A seemingly forgettable horror flick at first, Malignant transforms into the most bonkers films of 2021.