My Cat Persephone Wrote this Review on her Smartphone. It was better than Mine. .
The mediocre Aquaman grosses so much money that James (“3-2”) Wan can pretty much do whatever the f*ck he wants for his next movie.
For fun, Wan decides to make a gruesome horror movie about _______, adoption, abusive relationships, _____, and the Seattle Underground. Heck, there’s even a Goonies reference because, why not?
As a result of throwing all kinds of genres in a blender, Malignant is one of the most bonkers movies of the years. If you’re not into this after the first 5 minutes, you might as well walk out of the theater/turn of HBO Max right now and see that very safe non-challenging cookie cutter Marvel movie again.
But if you’re into body parts being sawed or chewed off…or even worse, then Malignant may just be the One-Eyed Willy you’ve been searching for with Data, Chunk, Mouth, Hermione, and Useless Ron Weaselly.
You might find your keys if you turned on a light.
Malignant opens sometime in the early 90s on top of a very sinister looking building on top of a very sinister looking hill. What are they doing in there you might ask? Nothing benign, but the perfect start to a stomach churning horror movie.
A lot of doctors are looking at a lot of monitors. They all have grave faces and furrowed brows. The morally dubious doctors are paying attention to someone named “Gabriel”. His name is in quotations because we’re not sure he really exists because no human being can talk through intercom speakers and travel through electrical wires. Unless…
It seems “Gabriel” is out of control and begins killing random staff members who didn’t have to show up for work that day because it wasn’t really their scheduled day and now they’re dead.
Until an intrepid doctor finally says, “Cut out the cancer”.
Gabriel is gone and everything is okay again. The random orderlies that died today had videotapes that had to be returned by midnight the next night/morning and now on top of being dead they’re going to have to pay exorbitant late fees because this section of the movie takes place in the 90s. Do you know how embarrassing it is to be dead and work AND have Cool World be the last thing you rented?
We flash forward to the present day.
We meet a pregnant woman named Madison Mitchell (Annabelle “Marsellus” Wallis, her nose job different from Peaky Blinders and the Tom Cruise misfire The Mummy- it’s not bad, just obvious). Madison has had trouble with miscarriages. She also has an abusive husband named Derek (Random D*ck).
Because she didn’t align the towels correctly or something, Derek bashes Madison’s head against the wall. Maddie is bleeding. Before she loses consciousness, Maddie thinks she sees something in the dark. But are her eyes deceiving her? Possibly, but the audience sees said something murder Derek. No one cares because it makes the world a better place now that Derek is dead.
Unfortunately, Maddie loses the baby. Maddie’s adopted sister Sydney does her best to comfort her. At least Derek is dead.
The dumb movie police can’t figure out what’s happening. There was no sign of forced entry, but Madison was too bruised and battered to possibly do such damage to Derek.
Despite Sydney’s objections, Madison decides to stay in the giant house alone because it’s a horror movie and we’re only 20 minutes into it. As Maddie tries to recover, she’s being haunted by nightmares. Nightmares of a being that calls him/itself “Gabriel”.
In these nightmares, Gabriel brutally murders someone. Maddie is frozen as she watches Gabriel kill and there’s nothing she can do about it. They’re just bad dreams, nothing more.
Or are they? Because, shockingly to anyone who hasn’t seen the trailer, these “nightmares” that Maddie is having about “Gabriel” are real murders that have taken place.
Night after night, vision after vision, murder after murder. Maddie sees them all. The police are baffled because these are some of the worst movie police ever, even for a horror film.
The victims involve someone from Madison’s past. Thanks to a second act info dump, Madison will realize her memories from before her adoption are starting to surface, and “Gabriel” may be more than just a figment of her imagination, which is good because now I won’t have to write “Gabriel” with quotation marks.
Will Maddie find out more about her past in time to stop more murders? Not likely, because Seattle’s dimmest will always be at least 3 steps and 2 bodies behind.
What Works With Malignant
- Director James Wan (Furious 7, Dead Silence) going back to his Saw roots and just splattering everything onscreen he can. Based on the trailer, and Wan’s past Conjuring Universe movies, you’d expect Wan to do his standard drawn out misdirection scare, but since he’s already done that in 2 Conjuring and 2 Insidious movies, why not show more blood and gore. It fits with the tone and style of the film.
- “Gabriel”- Whether he’s real or not, Gabriel is a genuinely unsettling creature, mostly because you don’t get a good look at him, until you do. If sitting through the clown car that was Aquaman got us Gabriel, then it was kind of worth it. I guess.
- A 3rd act full of twists that are unbelievable but still fun. Wan has gone full Giallo, and even if you don’t buy some (or even most) of the movie’s twists, it’s hard not to go along with the campy ride. Again, you want vanilla safe, go see the Marvel movie.
- Malignant won’t be remembered for its acting, but kudos to Annabelle Wallis for fully committing to Madison. During the film’s nutty 3rd act, if you don’t believe her, the movie completely falls apart. Hell, even if you do believe her the movie falls apart for some. But Wallis always manages to stay grounded amidst the chaos.
What Doesn’t Work With Malignant
- For all the ridiculousness that takes place, the least believable parts involve the use of antiquated machine called a “VCR” that’s used to drop exposition whenever needed. Unless it’s a nursing home in Covid riddled Florida, nobody in 2021 has a consistently working VCR.
Fun, gory, and completely over the top. Malignant mixes genres and mangled body parts in equal doses. With the final act turning into a blood-drenched cartoon, Malignant never plays it safe and hopes you embrace its grisly eccentricity. The most fun you’ll have watching people die this month.