Horror maestro James Wan returns to the horror field with a crazy and surreal trip that just also happens to be one of his best…..
I am not going to lie to you! Malignant won’t be for everyone’s taste. Its not that it offers up a slow burn plot or even a complicated one, but the new breed of horror fans who have been brought up by the likes of Hereditary and Midsommer with no doubt shake their head at what they are witnessing.
Wan is no Ari Aster and that is not a compliant as the horror genre and us fans need someone like Wan who realises that at times, horror has to be fun. It needs to be a blast of energy in which we can sit back and just chuckle and be in awe at the bloodshed in front of us.
Having dipped his toes into the Fast and Furious franchise and played around with DC’s Aquaman, Malignant feels like Wan going back to his roots. The DNA of such films of his like SAW, Insidious, Dead Silence and the criminally underrated Death Sentence ripple through the blood of this crazy caper. Again, I am not going to lie to you but honestly, I adored this film from its SCI-FI start to the crazy ending and no doubt this will end up in my top 5 horror films come the end of this year.
The opening gambit sets the tone. Questionable acting added to a corny bit of dialogue, but there is a feel of excitement in the room as arms are broken and doctors look in horror as they discuss a patient called “Gabriel”. A title sequence that clearly states that this is a Wan horror then skips to a woman named Madison (Annabelle Wallis), struggling with pregnancy and no doubt in an abusive relationship with her husband Derek (Jake Abell) who once more lashes out and causes injury to the one person he should be caring for.
Soon after we enter into Insidious mode. Lights start flickering, fridges open on their own, a kitchen blender making a grinding noise. What is this film offering? Is it just another ghostly caper that Wan is “conjuring” up?. A pair of detectives, Kekoa (George Young) and Regina (Michole Briana White) are brought into the fold, on a search for a vicious leather trench coat wearing serial killer who just happens to look like “Sloth” from The Goonies.
Where are we heading? Why is Maddison sharing the same telepathic skills as Lorraine Gary’s character in Jaws: The Revenge but with more surreal visions, but hey at least that film had a shark that could roar! But still for this particular film we have no clue what is happening, but as the plot starts to unravel and flashbacks start to offer up more clues and as we the viewer begin to tire as the story starts to sag! – BANG!!!
We reach that moment! A stunning, stupid, hilarious, over the top, crazy, idiotic, dumb, ridiculous, “what is happening right now?” situation that made me sit back in awe at the fact that Wan has once more pulled off an eye catching rememberable set-piece that matches the impact of when we first properly met Jigsaw and the stupendous final act of Mary Shaw.
As we get our breath back and take it all in, we are then swept into a bloodied action set-piece that you can only applaud and then after all that, we fittingly like we begin, reach a corny predictable resolution that somehow feels perfect.
In lesser hands Malignant would have been a disaster but with Wan’s deft touch, what we get is a stunning 80’s homage that reminds us all in just how brilliant and creative this genre can be.
Yes, its that good!