James Wan solidified his place in horror movie history many years ago. Saw, The Conjuring, and Insidious are all excellent movies that changed the way people made horror films, and are the main reason I’m such a big fan of his. With him slipping back into the director’s chair for Malignant, it immediately became one of my most-anticipated movies of the year. While I did like the movie, it couldn’t have been further from what I was expecting. Let’s dig into it.
Starring Annabelle Wallis, Malignant follows the story of a woman named Madison, who is plagued by horrifying visions of violent murders. She sees them as they happen, even though she isn’t physically present. Originally believing these to be dreams, she soon learns that these visions are 100 percent real.
Off the bat, Annabelle Wallis is terrific in this movie. This is the first flick I’ve seen her have such a big role in, and she knocks it out of the park. She perfectly captures the hysteria of the character, and the script gives her a ton to do. Ironically, I found her performance to be the only decent one in the movie. All of the other characters were really shaky, which I found so bizarre for a James Wan movie.
I love how Malignant looks from a cinematic perspective. There’s some shots that are very similar to what Wan does in The Conjuring, but also some really cool experimental shots as well. There’s a particular one-shot that follows Annabelle Wallis through several areas of her home, taken from a top-down perspective that really stuck with me.
There’s some decent scares, but not as terrifying as I was hoping. The creature itself, what you see in the trailer, is pretty scary looking, and its movements were super creepy, very reminiscent of the exorcist. However, I wasn’t as spooked as I had been anticipating. This is likely because after that batshit crazy finale, I was feeling every other possible response.
I keep alluding to the bonkers nature of this movie, but I’m going to have to keep it at just that. I don’t even want to toe close to spoilers, so what I’ll say is, see the movie for yourself, and just enjoy the ride. The third act is truly a rollercoaster, and I’m so curious as to what you all think of it. This is a movie that’s already been quite polarizing. I’ve got some pals that downright hated it, and others that were in love with it. Avoid trailers if you can, and just go into this thing blind.