“Malignant” was co written & directed by James Wan who is best known for directing the first 2 “The Conjuring” films as well as the first 2 “Insidious” films and the first “Saw” film. Wan also directed “Furious 7” & “Aquaman” and its 2022 sequel. The film stars Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young, Michole Briana White and Jacqueline McKenzie. The film is based on horror story that was written by Wan & Akela Cooper, in her first major film.
In 1993, a psychiatric patient, Gabriel, discovers he has an ability to control electricity and can broadcast his thoughts via speakers. His doctor, Florence Weaver (McKenzie) tries to help but one particular night, he turns violent and kills a few members of the clinic. 27 years later, Madison Lake (Wallis) a pregnant woman living in Seattle returns home to her abusive husband. During an argument, he smashes her head against the wall and then she locks herself in her bedroom and falls asleep. Later that night, Madison has a nightmare, watching an intruder violently murder Derek. When she awakens, she finds Derek’s lifeless body and realizes that it was real. The Killer attacks Madison and renders her unconscious. She wakes up the hospital to the terrible news of Derek’s death as well as the death of her unborn baby. When she returns home, she begins to experience paranormal activity, from ghostly figures to unknown movements. Soon, the authorities are involved when people go missing or even dead. The mystery begins to unfold as Madison’s shady past and secrets slowly began to manifest into a violent form of terror.
James Wan has always had success with horror films and very rarely branches out into different genres. 2015’s “Furious 7” was the first attempt in the action genre, this film was a nice blend of action & horror. Wan’s signature horror approach is felt throughout the first 2 acts while the final act feels like an ultra violent action movie. Annabelle Wallis’ performance pretty much carry the whole movie as the victim then the heroin. Her character arch really comes through from beginning to end. While certain aspects of the film are cliche but they work in the film to make it flow nicely. It does have the typical cliches of horror movies but with Wan at the helm, they are forgivable.
Overall, this movie blends 2 different genres together in a way only a legendary director can who can pull it off. James Wan proves while stepping away from “The Conjuring” Universe, he can still pull off a pretty good action horror movie. The film dropped on HBO Max the same week it was released in theaters. James Wan is set to return to the “Aquaman” sequel in 2023, “Aquaman & The Lost Kingdom”.