Malignant: A challenging puzzle, as James Wan yet again lands another Horror franchise opener
Warner Brothers Pictures
Directed By James Wan
Stars: Annabelle Wallis, Sydney Lake, George Young, McKenna Grace, and Michole Briana White
Where to watch: For premium rent on most platforms
James Wan's track record in the horror industry is clearly superior. From one of my all time favourite movies.The Conjuring, to other incredible spine chilling originals such as Insidious, and Dead Silence- to the gruesome original that sparked dozens of followups- Saw. If there was ever someone to have faith in to deliver some of the greatest scares while blending in a strong story that holds viewers engaged even when its not intending to be scary. The fact that Wan worked alongside and wrote the original story with his wife Ingrid Bisu is just another factor to play in hoping that once again, Wan would provide in the genre he clearly feels well at home in.
Madison is paralyzed by shocking visions of grisly murders, and her torment worsens as she discovers that these waking dreams are in fact terrifying realities.
Wan is clearly a gifted filmmaker, and Malignant is proof of his craft. The way you can feel his hands and his presence all over every minute of the film is crystal clear. Like a skilled puzzle-maker, Wan unravels just enough clues in his gruesome horror to keep the viewer on their feet, deciphering every single moment as a hope to fit the pieces together and complete Wan's horror filled puzzle.
Just as often as Wan drops his clues, the stories turns and twists make you realize that not everything that you've seen before is fully what it had appeared. The viewer learns quickly that the puzzle pieces don't fit as perfectly as they were led to believe, and once again are sent with the slate cleared to find out how the mystery, the monster, and the murders fit together as a comprehensive whole.
The gore is very much real, and is given even more of a centre stage than in any of the recent horror franchises that Wan has been apart of. Yet none of it comes off as too gruesome and gory to enjoy, there's a level of beauty in the way Wan displays all of this. From camera angles, to enhancing the colours- the gore is very much there, but the presentation of it is in a much more stomach able way- one that leaves the viewer admiring our incredible directors style, more than they are recoiling from the screen.
The characters all serve a purpose, and they all deliver performances that deserve applauding. As the story goes on, Annabelle Wallis' showcases such a wide range of acting skills- and her lead character, Madison, has a level of depth that not many horror characters this year have shown. Maddie Hasson, is such a delight as the sister character- a role which we've seen in so many movies before be so underwritten, and just there for the body count, rather Hasson's Sydney- is written strong and has a great background, with solid reasonings and emotions behind decisions- all which are brought to life by Hassons acting. George Young and Michole Briana White are good as the detectives on the case, Young is more focal for the story but both have enough there- that you root for them to survive through the bloodshed. McKenna Grace once again makes an appearance, and once again proves why she is one of the busiest under 20 actresses in the business today.
Malignant is just one of the best horror movies of the year, and in general, one of the best movies of the year. Theres so much for every kind of audience- from audiences looking for gore, horror junkies, and to those looking for a deeper story in their horror watchings. This film is something that can be showcased to wide audiences, to show just how incredibly gifted of a filmmaker James Wan is- and why he is one of the best horror filmmakers to date.