review by Bobby Blakey
Ever since James Wan burst onto the scene with SAW I have been a fan of everything he does. While he has found success in the big budget filmmaking with Furious 7 and Aquaman it’s his horror films where he truly shines for me. With the SAW, Conjuring and Insidious franchises already in full swing he is returning to his horror roots with his latest film Malignant, but could this be another horror gem from the master of horror or will it not be worth using your imagination for?
Malignant follows Madison who is paralyzed by shocking visions of grisly murders, and her torment worsens as she discovers that these waking dreams are in fact terrifying realities. The film stars Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young, Michole Briana White, Jacqueline McKenzie, Jake Abel and Ingrid Bisu with James Wan at the helm once again bring his stylized vibe to the film in something a bit different than his previous outings.
Right out the gate it feels like this might be something more of the same haunting stuff which would have been just fine, but you quickly realize it’s something totally different. The build-up delivers plenty of intrigue and jump scares that some might feel are more stereotypical, but I eat this stuff up. Early on I had a feeling to where this was headed, but the twist was not something I saw coming. The big reveal moment to what is really going on reminded me of that brilliant moment in the original Saw when John stands up and was in there the whole time. This one not only had that feeling, but the lighting works similar and worked so well.
The story is actually pretty simple initially, but then kind of starts taking some twists and turns as you try to figure it all out. The cast all do a great job with Annabelle Wallis having to carry the heaviest load. She not only had to bring all the usual torment and emotions expected in this genre, but some interesting physicality to make this work and she was all kinds of awesome with it.
If there was any issue it came in one action violent sequence that is awesome,
but the CGI comes off a bit fake at times. It could be the direction of what they are doing or something else since it is not your usual way of moving for the sequence, but it did just feel off a bit. Despite that I still loved the scene and thought it was a ton of fun to watch. The big finally reveal may not work for some but it had me all kinds of giddy just in its sheer insanity of it all. I think it was a clever direction that isn’t the norm and one that once again could be setting up a franchise, but either way once again Wan has delivered.
Decide for yourself and check out Malignant in theaters and on HBO MAX now from Warner Bros.