Malignant Movie Review
In this grand year of 2021, a James Wan-lacking Conjuring 3 proved to be a massive disappointment thanks largely to the fact that James Wan didn’t direct it, and the new horror movie Malignant, directed by James Wan, is, by most definitions, a pretty bad movie.
About a woman who is repeatedly attacked by a seemingly supernatural creature in her large, spooky house, Malignant is arguably worth seeing for one major reason: after operating with at best mediocre qualities for a good hour, the movie pivots and goes absolutely batshit crazy in its final act.
It’s almost as if Wan purposefully made a lame two-thirds of a movie just to throw the audience for a loop. Except I’m not going to give him nearly that much credit.
When the big reveal comes, Malignant, for approximately 15 minutes, had me grinning from ear to ear. It’s not that the movie suddenly becomes good, but the “twist” is so weird and silly and fucked up and ridiculous it’s hard not to enjoy yourself. The jail scene is a bloody riot, and one wonders what Malignant could have been had the reveal just been out in the open early one. Then again, the honeymoon period fades fast and by the time the ending rolls around, I was back to being unimpressed.
With Malignant, it’s obvious that Wan didn’t want to just make another Conjuring. He is on the record of saying so. But his patient style of inflicting terror, perfected through the first two Conjuring films and at least the first Insidious (and some would say his other, lesser horror movies, too), is abandoned entirely here for something far more pedestrian. The acting isn’t particularly good, the scares largely absent, and the entire production feels like something where a few top corners were cut.
Malignant maintains a baseline entertainment factor in the face of its sloppiness, but a burst of surprising spectacle isn’t enough to save this befuddling film from being a complete miss.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.