I’ve spoken a few times about my love of James Wan’s films a couple of times recently, particularly in my review of Spiral, and the legacy he made for himself with the Saw films, Insidious, The Conjuring and his non horror work with Aquaman and Furious 7. The man is known as the king of horror which has a certain style to it which makes it stand out from the rest, meaning Malignant was always going to be something that intrigued me and I was going to be there for because I have such faith in the director, even though the trailers hadn’t sold me.
Malignant stars Annabelle Wallis as Madison Mitchell, a woman who starts to have visions of a serial killer as they go around killing the victims after surviving an attempted murder from the killer herself.
During my screening of this film, I had a member of the audience who was laughing more times than I’ve had in some comedies, so that took me out of the film every single time he laughed, cos it’s not supposed to be funny. Is it supposed to be serious? Absolutely not, its an intentionally kind of stupid idea and James Wan knows that and plays that. He’s a great filmmaker he knows exactly what he’s doing, and that’s not going to work well with people who don’t like this type of film or are expecting a serious horror, because that’s how it was marketed. It’s technically very well made, James Wan has a good relationship with Warner Bros so it’s no surprise that they were more than happy to fund this project, after their success with the very success Conjuring universe. I couldn’t find the budget of the film, but it feels very much like a student film idea made with a higher budget and a great filmmaker.
As I’ve spoken about before, I think expectations are very important as to how much you can enjoy the film. It’s interesting because the best example of this is M Night Shymalan’s The Village. A film that was marketed as a horror, but is far much more of a drama/romance with horror elements, it leaves audiences disappointed as they’re prepared to be scared. Similar situation with this, I was ready for a Conjuring level scary film, but I get what is a fun light horror, with gory moments, not many scares.
The writing is what left me wanting more. There’s some really bad dialogue, and it’s hard to say whether it’s intentional or not, it comes of as very clunky at times and the delivery isn’t always the best from an okay cast, who might have also struggled a bit to nail the tone that Wan was going for. There is one plot point that isn’t explained at all and seems to just be in the film to serve as something unique for the villain.
Overall, Malignant is a fun horror film, but lacks the scares to make it great. Elements of the plot certainly make the film unique and you can expect more of the brilliant camera shots from Wan but lack his trademarks that we have got use to and love in other horrors to make this land for most of the audience, who will leave disappointed expecting the next big horror franchise.
What did you think of Malignant?
I don’t think there is any other releases I’ll watch this week due to my shifts, there also isn’t anything out I particularly want to watch on Friday, but I’ll see closer to the time. Maybe I’ll finally get to that review of The Night House. But please follow on Instagram @floodersfilms and on Facebook to keep up to date with whatever I do next, maybe it will be a list of all the films to be excited for in these last few months of 2021!