Malignant is a horror film that was directed by James Wan, it released in 2021. The film follows a woman named Maddison Lake. She begins to have visions of people getting murdered, only to realize the events are happening in real life.
In 1993, Dr. Weaver with her colleagues Victor Fields and John Gregory, treat psychiatric patient Gabriel. Gabriel has special powers like controlling electricity and broadcasting his thoughts via speakers. One night, Gabriel turns violent and kills several staff members of the institution.
In the beginning, we see a heavily pregnant Maddison return home from work after feeling unwell. She’s greets her boyfriend, Derek but it quickly turns into an argument between the two. During the argument, Derek smashes Madison’s head against a wall after which she locks herself in the bedroom and falls asleep. Madison later wakes up to find Derek’s body after having a dream of a man entering their house and violently killing him.
The next morning, Madison wakes up in a hospital and is informed by her sister Sydney that her unborn baby didn’t survive the attack. After being interviewed by police detectives Shaw & Moss, Madison returns home. Later that night, Madison sees another dream about Gabriel murdering Weaver.
During their investigation, Shaw and Moss discover a photo of Madison as a child in Weaver’s house and learn that she specialized in child reconstructive surgery. Madison and her sister approach the police after watching Gabriel murder Fields. Gabriel contacts Madison, causing her to remember her past. Madison realizes that Gabriel wasn’t her imaginary friend but someone real whom she talked to during her childhood. However, nothing can prepare her for the further horrifying revelations to come.
Malignant is clearly a very divisive horror film. I’ve seen more than a couple of opinions from people calling it terrible. Then again, there are some who love it. I definitely agree more with the latter. To me, this felt like something of a throwback to yesteryear. I grew up watching and loving some seriously absurd horror films from the 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond. To me, this felt reminiscent to that type of thing. It’s possible that those that didn’t enjoy Malignant are not accustomed to such things. I can see a more modern audience being like WTF and switching it off. Not me though, this is exactly the sort of wackiness that got me into horror in the first place.
If you’ve ever seen any of James Wan’s horror films than the cinematography throughout will feel very familiar. The sweeping motions and lingering shots are one of his biggest strengths in my opinion and they’re used well here.
In case the obvious needs to be stated, this film is meant to be over the top, over dramatic, weird and cheesy as hell. Don’t overthink it, just enjoy the madness. I found it very entertaining.
The action and gore are fantastic. The effects with Gabriel are a real mind-fuck and I mean that in the best way possible. It’s really quite freaky to witness him moving around. I found the story and eventual twist a little bit predictable but that in no way makes it bad. It’s an amazing idea for a horror film and one that plays out really well. It does start off and move along a bit slowly but stick with it because the final act is a sight to behold, one that you won’t forget too easily that’s for sure. The Inception-like ending is a nice touch as well.
There are a lot of dark aspects to the story when you consider all of it so I think certain aspects were altered to counteract this. For example, the soundtrack feels out of place but adds to the eccentric feel. The performances are again, over the top but it’s definitely appropriate considering what’s taking place.
There was a moment during Malignant where I said to myself “this is one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen but I absolutely love it”, that pretty much sums it up.
The Final Score - 9/10