The OddFella Column

Malignant review

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And the winner for Most Bonkers Twist is Marmite, I mean Malignant

If I were to tell you that James Wan has returned to the directors chair in the horror genre, the same man who bought us acclaimed work such as Saw, The Conjuring and Insidious to our screens then Malignant should have your attention.

And rightly so – James Wan has some serious credit in the bank – but has the bank called time?

Malignant is the story of Madison (Wallis) essentially experiencing visions of grisly murders carried out by a mysterious vengeful creature, Madison herself is a victim of violence and seems to have just about the worst luck as everything is pitted against our protagonist as her story unravels.

Pretty standard affair in terms of the setting and camera cinematographer Michael Burgess (Conjuring 3, Annabelle Comes Home and The Curse of La Llorona) matches Wan’s direction as the camera swoops smoothly or is perched to capture the horrors ensue.

I am a big fan of good camera work and Wan/Burgess are working at the top of their game.

In terms of the cast, Madison is is ably supported by sister, Sydney (Hasson) and somehow ineptly by what seems like your TV Cop Drama team of sceptical homicide police detectives – they reminded me of the bad early 2000’s TV cop drama teams you see on re-run TV during the day.

Let it be known, this reviewer loves this genre, from slash gore to paranormal tension builders – to be allowed to let go of my self control, self awareness of how the real world works and knowing that I can escape it, I always hope that the next movie makes me curl up in a ball.

However, what happens when you watch enough of these movies is that you become somewhat sanitised from most attempts of jump scares, sudden noise effects and crunching of bones. And in this world, all sensible logic leaves – this is the beauty of horror, good horror – you as a rational person would not act in the same way, would you?

  • Never go to a basement, wooded area.
  • Always turn on the lights
  • If possible, never return to haunted house.

Wan, purposefully embraces the full scope of material available to him to homage. This is one view, the other could be that Wan is just simply putting together scenes from other movies like Ringu, Ju On (The Grudge), The Exorcist, The Evil Dead to name just a few.

I’d let you judge on how this helps the flow of the movie, as the movie is broken up into segments of horror, thriller and action to the detriment as doesn’t allow the movie to focus and subsequently excel.

About ¾ quarters into the movie, the reveal is a doozey of such ill-fated proportions that the only reaction that fits is “WTAF” – words escaped me when watching how the action unfolded into the last act. This is truly a new twist to the genre and one I don’t think we needed to ever discover.

I just wonder how the pitch at the studios went to get the green light on this.

No doubt, it will appeal to lovers of the bizarre and with Wan’s track record, it blatantly is hoping to spawn a sequel or two and I hope it does improve the next instalment that I can certainly happening.

I truly believe that this should be called Marmite – you will either love it or hate it, doubt there will be much in the middle for fans.

Credit to the cast – the did they their best with what was given to them, and they sold it really well that it could be plausible is the most unplausible way.

The movie isn’t particularly scary, it has some gore but I feel that what will be remembered from this movie in years to come will be the daft twist

In conclusion Wan’s latest attempt isn’t exactly his best in his excellent CV but is it worth your while? To sit through the near two hours and reach the end of what doesn’t attempt to make sense of what concepts it is trying to establish.

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