Continuing my adventures with HBO Max, yesterday I looked around and found the movie Malignant available to stream.
Directed and from a story co-written by James Wan (Saw, Aquaman, The Conjuring), it focuses on Madison Mitchell (Annabelle Wallis) who -after a brief intro to events at some strange psychiatric facility that occurred in the past, 1993- arrives home late one night tired and, from appearances, experiencing considerable pain because of her pregnancy. She heads to her bedroom where her deadbeat husband is watching TV and they eventually get into an argument.
She’s been pregnant, it seems, multiple times and each has resulted in some problem and no child. The husband, a nasty piece of work, shows little sympathy for her and they get into an argument. He slams her against the wall and she hits the back of her head. Blood flows and, in horror, the husband rushes downstairs to the kitchen to get her something to stop the bleeding.
Madison locks him out of her room and he is unable to get back in. She eventually goes to sleep on the bed while he sleeps on the couch downstairs.
However, he is awoken by strange sounds and attacked… and killed in a very vicious manner.
Who did him in? And who is the crazed killer who seems to have been unleashed that night?
And what does that have to do with the brief intro of events from a psychiatric hospital in 1993?
The answers come, eventually, and they are wild.
Malignant is one of those films that I suspect people will either like or hate. It presents its scares in a straightforward manner but the story itself is beyond silly when all is said and done, a film that might have benefitted from more humor a la Evil Dead 2.
On the other hand, I found the plot to be somewhat reminiscent of early David Cronenberg, specifically his 1979 film The Brood. Mind you, I’m not saying the films have similar plots, more like similar thematic ideas and body horror.
Once I finished up Malignant, I couldn’t help but wonder what a more serious -and stronger- horror film it could have been had it toned down some of the silliness (there’s a scene toward the movie’s climax involving a prison cell then the entire police department which is… yeah… silly) and focused more on making this body horror film.
Still, for what it is, Malignant is not terrible by any means and is often entertaining enough despite some of the sillier elements.
I recommend this film to people who are fans of James Wan but, again, expect a more silly horror feature rather than a more serious one.