It is rarely spoken in a positive sense when people say “it has everything and the kitchen sink” when talking about movies. Much in the same way a movie with too many tones can give audiences a feeling of emotional whiplash, there are sensations and visuals that cannot be excessive for the sake of cohesion. Malignant puts that theory to the test by being a horror film that has everything you could want all mashed together, and it is surprising how fun it is.
All Maddison (Annabelle Wallis) wants is a baby, even if she has to try multiple times with the same abusive man, she refuses to give up. All of that changes after a break-in claims her husband and unborn child, that is when the visions started. Visions of people being murdered by the same grotesque man in a long dark coat.
When it is said that Malignant is an everything movie, it is a discussion about the tone and the sub genres in the film. The first half of the film is a pulse-pounding thriller that is downright haunting in the use of pacing, sound design, and camerawork. These moments are incredibly thrilling and much of what we would expect from a master of horror like James Wan. The second half, however, begins to show more comedic moments, wild action to go with the thrilling elements, and a soundtrack that is a joke in itself with how abrupt it is. In any other film, this would be a mess, but in its execution and quality, there is no denying the pure excitement and the fun of it all.
Where Malignant may lose points with audience goers, is that the tone of the trailers is a far more different experience than the film actually is. The trailer prepares people for what looks like a ghost film, and while there are supernatural elements for sure, James Wan is actually resurrecting an old sub-genre that hasn’t seen the light of day in a long time, the supernatural slasher. There came a point where the audiences got bored of the potential silliness of the idea but in the hands of someone with a love for the genre and a talent for making it work, we could be seeing its rebirth and return to the mainstream.
While the horror genre has been the playground for slow, visceral, and gut-wrenching movies as of late, it is refreshing to see something come out of the woodwork and be this crazy. For anyone who has felt that films have been taking themselves too seriously and just want to have a bit more fun, Malignant is for you. When you see it though don your mask, make the trek to the theatre, and see it with a crowd. This is a group movie experience that must not be missed.
8 Out of 10 Chainsaws
||1 hr. 51 mins.