Don’t Bend Over Backwards For Malignant

The Stream: Just ridiculous at a certain point, not very horror at the end of the day, and a bit predictable

The Big Screen: Story, execution, originality, and bloody action sequences

The Final Bill: A variation on the horror movie but executed in a quite original and disgusting way

– S2S: Movie Review
Director: James Wan
Writers: James Wan (story by), Ingrid Bisu (story by), Akela Cooper (screenplay by)
Stars: Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young
Genre: Crime, History, Mystery
Rating: R
Runtime: 1 hour 46 minutes
Production Companies: Atomic Monster, Boom Entertainment, Boom! Studios
Platform: In theaters September 10, 2021 and HBO Max (for 30 days)

Alright, alright, alright, alright. We’re back with the early Halloween season spooks with Malignant. This film was released in theaters on Sept. 10th and will be on HBO Max for 30 days. If you haven’t heard of this film, or are not a horror fan, the trailer is below. In Malignant, Madison becomes paralyzed by violence in her life and the shocking visions of gruesome murders. She is tormented by these events and she finds out that there’s even more going on to what she sees. What’s her connection and why should we watch? I’ll get to that.

As you can see from the trailer, Madison and the victims are going through it with these visions and the malevolent entity (Gabriel). That’s actually a part of the movie that succeeds. It is not just that you feel stuck in the visions or that you feel a part of the scenes, but the film does a really good job of following Gabriel. In fact, they do so well at it that I started to root for Gabriel in these scenes. Now that I think about it, that might be a negative. Ah, well. Other than the physics of Gabriel’s movements, my guy is possibly the most athletic villain of all time and he really brings the pain. The problem with Gabriel and the movie is unlike The Conjuring, we have no clue where his powers come from. It’s literally the most random thing in the world, unexplained and just perplexing. I mean even in the final explanation of the the story I sat there and said, “Why would they think this would work? This makes no sense.” Nevertheless, we come to movies to suspend belief and that is what I had to do. That’s a mixed bag and probably the only reason to watch this movie. Let’s see the bad guy go wild and be confused why this is even possible while doing it.

While saying that, I do appreciate the original perspective Malignant brings on malevolent entities in the horror world (or a callback to older film types). What I don’t appreciate is the lack of scares in this flick. The movie starts off in one realm and we just end somewhere completely different. I think we’ve gone in the paranormal, ghost, demon, monster bag a bit too much recently. This gives us slasher, with a semi-demon, and psychological thriller all mashed in one. I’m not mad at what they tried to do, but the execution of continuity is just non-existent. In writing this film, the addition of a scene or two, or even a line or two, could’ve fixed the holes in the understanding of Gabriel. Nothing could’ve fixed the physics though. But, what that tells me is there’s room to grow/expand upon in the series. I’m not certain there will be a second film, but I can see how something could break through again with James Wan leading it. The Conjuring series has been so popular that they might just give Malignant a follow-up. I’d ask for the whole cast to be changed excepted for the lady cop but that might be asking too much.

S2S: Official Rating Scale

Malignant is a strangely bad but pleasing early Halloween season movie. From all of the commercials and trailers, I feel a bit mislead by Malignant. Then, the title and title sequence gives away a lot more than you need to know. The story is executed in an original way which actually is quite pleasing but also quite ridiculous. Viewers have to give in to the absurdity and impractical physics of the human body for you to truly enjoy this flick. I think horror fans will be a bit disappointed in the scares in the movie but still entertained by the violence. They should grab a handful of popcorn to enjoy the spectacle. General viewers, who may just have HBO Max, this movie is only scary for about 10 minutes altogether, so if you can get past those parts, you might enjoy rolling your eyes at some bloody and ridiculous scenes and faces, under duress.