James Wan is a master director in all things horror, quickly making a name for himself by successfully launching three major franchise within the genre. Taking that credibility to large properties such as Aquaman in the DCEU. Now with his triumphant return to the horror genre, he truly does not disappoint. Malignant proves to be the return of the king of horror in a way that we have never seen before. It is truly something so unique in today’s time reminiscent of an old school 90’s slasher film with something totally new altogether. One can’t help but be blown away by the film’s uniqueness and style. In the end, it is a new generational Giallo epic that should be seen by audiences.
In terms of the story, it is important to talk about without spoilers. Malignant tells a tale that most Giallo/slasher fans would really enjoy. Madison (Wallis) has visions of grotesque murders which eventually become a reality. Basically a love letter to films from the 90’s, the films follows a character having visions of murders happening somewhere else. Though something unique in its own way, the film plays as a typical slasher throughout. The kills are both brutal and violent though never jarring. Wan is an excellent filmmaker who make these acts of violence enjoyable and straight up fun to watch. From amazing tracking shots to great choreography, it all felt like watching an artful dance unfold on the screen as the camera takes audiences on a journey. Admittedly weird to say, it’s the best way to describe it. The movement of the camera was so enthralling that each stride of the camera going through the environment from over head shots to immaculate tracking shots were so satisfying, showing true craftsmanship from someone who cares about every single frame of a shot of the story they are telling.
Malignant is bonkers and ridiculous in a very powerful way which may not sit well with some audiences. However, the majority of those who will watch it are sure to fall in love with it. With the right speed and traction, the film is likely destined to become a cult classic. The performances were fine for the most part. The only area in need of some improvement was with its secondary characters. Wallis was incredible job as the lead, effectively communicating Madison’s feelings and emotions through her mannerisms and facial expressions. Accompanying her was one of the best scores in recent memory. The music elevates every scene which is totally necessary here. The film definitely doesn’t hold any of its punches and is runs at full throttle from the very beginning to the end. With a runtime nearing the two hour mark, the film simply flies by.
Overall, Malignant certainly met this reviewer’s expectations and even exceeded them, becoming by far the most surprising watch so far this year. Meanwhile, the film’s marketing team deserves major credit. The trailer shows just enough to get people interested while still leaving a lot more great surprises for audiences therefore the film is best enjoyed going into completely blind if possible. That being said, it did still have its issues. The film will not land with average moviegoers. Wan went full out to the point that its surprising that a film of this ilk came from Warner Bros let alone any major studio. The film takes some really big risks which fortunately landed perfectly.
Make sure to check out Malignant which is out in theaters and also available for streaming on HBO Max for a limited time.
still courtesy of Warner Bros.