April 14, 2024

MALIGNANT (2021) – James Wan’s welcome return to the horror genre


Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

The name James Wan alone should be reason enough for any film fan to watch. Associate that name to a horror movie, makes it an absolute must see for horror fans. For it was James Wan’s break through in in early directorial efforts in such films as Saw, Insidious and The Conjuring where he gained success and recognition before venturing into mega projects like Aquaman and Fast and Furious 7. With Malignant, James Wan returns to the genre that helped made him the global success he is today.

Malignant is however, not something that would please a mass audience. Its appeal is limited to those who like horror, particularly those horror movies with a retro 80’s feel. As the movie progress and especially by the time it reaches its outlandish final act, one can see how much influence the horror movies of the 80’s have on the project, and on James himself since he also wrote the story for Malignant. This is stuff comparable to the likes of The Fly, or The Thing, and films by David Cronenberg. There are elements of humour and some cheesiness thrown in which provides a nice balance to the gruesome violence depicted on screen.

I found myself enjoying the ride for most part of Malignant. Even though some might lament that the scares were cliched, I beg to differ, because James Wan had filmed most of the suspenseful and scare scenes with his own unique style and clever, creative camera angles and editing. For me, these scenes looked fresh and engaging because of the way the camera captures the moments. I also the ending particularly because of how bizarre the revelation was. Some may laugh it off as being preposterous, but I think most horror movies and fantasy movies are guilty of the same. It is how well this is presented to the audience that counts.

On the negative side, I would say that the films’ tag line “A New Vision of Terror” was a bit of a disservice as it sort of set my expectations too high. I cannot honestly say Malignant offered something new. At best, it offered something nostalgic and gave a glimpse at how we used to enjoy our horror films, which made it different from the standard horror or slasher flics that we get served these days. I also felt the main actress, Annabelle Wallis did not give a stellar enough performance to make her character memorable and someone distinctive.

But more importantly, Malignant did not disappoint and for me, it offers a bloody good time for fans of the genre.

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