Madison (played by Annabelle Wallis) has dreams of people being murdered… and then discovers that these visions turned out to be true. Before long, Madison realises that her past has something to do with her present and she'll be forced to reckon with a long-lost friend: Gabriel.
Here be spoilers…
What we like
There was a lot of buzz when James Wan, director of The Conjuring, Insidious, Aquaman, just to name a few, returns to what he sees as his "horror roots". The sort of visceral and raw finish that was evident in the film that kickstarted his career: Saw.
But this is no Saw. Malignant is a chimaera of several of Wan's inspirations, most notably the giallo aesthetic. Or at least, the broad sense of the giallo genre: the garish deaths, the atmosphere, the mystery of it… and most importantly, the woman in peril.
Said woman in peril is Madison, who is played by Annabelle Wallis. Madison has lucid dreams of people being murdered by an entity called Gabriel. These visions turn out to be real as Madison discovers that Gabriel might have a connection with her-
Look. Usually, when I do these sort of things, its replete with stupid facts and analysis that nobody asks for but I have to fulfil some SEO criteria. One of the best things about Malignant is that the less you know about the film, the better the experience. It's a film that's so steeped in secrecy that even in pre-interviews with Wan, he refuses to even explain what the title even means.
Another thing we like about Malignant is Wallis. Despite the soap opera-narrative, ludicrous lines she has to deliver and the fright wig she has to wear, Wallis manages to play her part as well as she could. At least as long as she could before it is overshadowed by THE INSANE PLOT TWIST.
The twist in Malignant will be something that will be talked about and will ultimately divide the room. Which brings us to the next bit.
What we didn't like
The twist. Or, to be specific, the heavy reliance on it. We like it though, to be honest. It does lend to very unique action sequences and camera trickery but there may not be enough suspension of disbelief to accept the film as it is…. and given the over-the-top narrative, the twist might not be enough to redeem the movie.
What to look out for
Other than the twist? Marvel at how Gabriel moves and what it took to achieve that.
Malignant is now out in theatres.