Malignant (2018)

malignant poster 2021 movie
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 7/10

Some interesting visuals

Bad acting, movie can't decide on its tone

Movie Info

Movie Name: Malignant

Studio:  Atomic Monster/Boom Entertainment/Boom! Studios

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s):  September 1, 2021 (France)/September 10, 2021 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

malignant madison annabelle wallis

Madison’s having a bad couple of days

Madison Mitchell (Annabelle Wallis) lives in a dangerous situation with an abusive husband.  When her husband is brutally murdered after attacking her, Madison finds her life falling apart.  She’s plagued by visions of murders of people she doesn’t know, but defended by her sister Sydney Lake (Maddie Hasson) as police Kekoa Shaw (George Young) and Regina Moss (Michole Briana White) find more and more ties between Madison and the brutal murders.  To understand what is happening to her, Madison must unlock her past…and might find something horrible hidden inside.

Directed by James Wan (who also helped craft the story), Malignant is a horror thriller.  The film was released in theaters and directly on HBO Max on September 10, 2021.

malignant gabriel twin

Gabriel says hi!

I like a good horror thriller and I like a gory, goofy horror movie…but something about Malignant hits wrong.  There are worse movies than Malignant, but I didn’t enjoy watching it much throughout the viewing as I kept looking to see how much longer I had left.  Due to the storyline, a ******spoiler alert****** is in effect for the rest of the review.

The big problem with Malignant is the story.  It can’t nail down a tone.  While it feels like watching a goofy episode of Tales from the Crypt, it also seems to expect you take it more seriously.  I would have been more content if the story was set in the 1970s and a was genre piece (which it also has a vibe of), but instead it feels rather bland and predictable (yes, I think the twist is predictable).

malignant gabriel killes in bed christian clemenson

You’re never going to get those sheets clean again

The twist is what got people talking about the movie.  It is revealed that the monster Gabriel is a parasitic twin that controls Madison.  I had issues with that…first it was pretty obvious.  The title is called Malignant…as in something you remove from something that grows like a parasite…a cancer.  From the beginning, it felt like Basket Case meets Stephen King’s The Dark Half and with the “People that Live in Brass Hearses” aka the Ice Cream Man episode of Tales from the Crypt mixed in.  The shock just isn’t there, when they finally reveal it (and it makes you wonder why some of the scarring on her body wasn’t questioned more).  The fact that the evil person pops out of the back was a bit surprising (I thought it was going to just be a viable creature), but it seems like there would be blood running down her back all the time after it first resurfaced.

The acting is also very poor.  Annabelle Wallis is ok, but everyone doesn’t seem sure what type of movie they are making.  Some people are in a comedic horror film and some actors are in a stone cold horror movie.  It kind of ties in with the writing, but if a genre had been landed upon, it might have helped the actors and given the movie more of a direction.  The only characters I wanted to know more about was the 1980s trucker lady and the 1970s blaxploitation hooker in the world’s cheesiest (and stereotypical) jail cell.

malignant gabriel parasitic twin

Just a little plastic surgery and she’ll be right as rain!

There are some decent visuals.  That is something I can say about Wan’s horror movies.  He knows how to make a movie scary.  Malignant fails in that it isn’t a very scary movie and there could be a lot more jumps and chills that were missed, but it is put together well.  The visuals are also undercut with a score that’s cliffhanger beats also feels like it should be with a B-Movie.

Malignant works fine as a popcorn movie that a bunch of people can watch and make fun of while they are watching it, but as a serious horror movie that can scare and make you jump it falls flat.  It feels a bit desperate in its attempts to surprise and shock (the only surprise I really had was the mom falling into the middle of the living room after the séance).  The movie ends kind of openly but I can’t imagine that Madison’s character can get out of “trouble” regardless if she controls Gabriel for now…I just hope a Malignant 2 doesn’t show up as a result.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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