HomeMovies'Malignant' Review: A Confusing Mind Trip

‘Malignant’ Review: A Confusing Mind Trip

Annabelle Wallis in James Wan's MALIGNANT
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Studios

Written by Ronnie Gorham

Since his feature film debut with Saw in 2004, James Wan has directed some of the most bizarre and nightmarish horror films in recent history, including Insidious and The Conjuring franchises. So, it’s no surprise that his latest, Malignant, continues his legacy of off-the-wall concepts that are inventive but make you say, “what the f*ck did I watch?” It follows Madison Michell (Annabelle Wallis), who has visions of people being brutally murdered right in front of her. Unfortunately, the terrible news for Madison is the visions are real.

Malignant is a mixed bag of good and bad horror moments. The film’s first half is filled with overused horror cliches like people going towards noises instead of away from them and making stupid decisions that lead to their impending end. To match the film’s wacky and uncanny story elements is a mysterious, long-haired assailant who is killing up a host of doctors and giving a front-row seat to the murderous chaos to Madison, who, for some odd reason, can see this person murdering these physicians.

Along the way, we are introduced to a cast of mediocre characters, including Madison’s sister Syndey (Maddie Hasson) and two detectives, Regina (Michole Briana White) and Kekoa (George Young). Though Wallis does pull off a decent portrayal of a housewife with an abusive husband who is tormented by visions, unfortunately, beyond that, the rest of the cast isn’t given enough stakes or substance script-wise for the audiences to care about what happens to them. Not to mention, the first thirty or so minutes of the movie feels like James Wan couldn’t decide which genre to stick with.

The saving grace comes during the movie’s third act, where we get some literally head-splitting reveals that make it worthwhile if you made it this far through the feature. It’s here that the action and interest level quickly goes from -2 to 10 in a hurry. There’s also the beautiful cinematography—especially when Madison’s reality dissolves around her and becomes an interrogating window seat to people murdered. And the movie does have a solid soundtrack that at times seems more entertaining than the movie.

Overall, Malignant isn’t one of James Wan’s best horror flicks. With a confusing beginning and a lot of plot holes, it is the weakest link on his cinematic resume. Despite an excellent final sequence that delivers a horrifyingly gruesome jail scene that you won’t forget, it’s not enough to save the film as a whole. So, no need to turn the lights out for this one, keep a few coins and watch this at home.

Malignant is now playing in theaters and on HBO Max.

Pop-Break Staff
Pop-Break Staffhttps://thepopbreak.com
Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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