Director: James Wan
Writers: James Wan, Akela Cooper, Ingrid Bisu
Stars: Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young
RATING: 4 Stars
Madison is paralyzed by shocking visions of grisly murders, and her torment worsens as she discovers that these waking dreams are in fact terrifying realities. – IMDB
Before we start, I strongly suggest that you go into this film knowing as little as possible. The short synopsis above is all you need to know, so if you haven’t seen the film yet, and you want to be surprised, go watch it first, then come back here to read about my thoughts. All I will say here is that I thought this film was amazing. That’s it, off you go. Are you gone? Right then, now onto my thoughts on the film.
I can definitely see why some people have really disliked this film. It would appeal, I think, only to fans of certain kinds of horror films. And clearly I am that kind of fan because I ate this film up. I was unsure about it at the beginning, it has quite a unique style for a modern horror film (more on this later), but the more I watched, and the more I thought on it after, the more I came to love it.
It definitely has some heavy seventies horror inspiration. It came across to me a very Dario Argento, Suspiria, Surrealist kind of thing. From the visuals to the dialogue, and particularly some of the panning and zooming shots, it was like a love letter to those kinds of horror films. And horror movies from that era, and that have that kind of vibe and those kind of visuals, are my absolute favourite horror films. Everything about them keeps you on edge. And the same can be said here. The pounding music, the zoomed in camera shots of the characters reactions, the absolutely amazing tension that is built up throughout, I was a nervous wreak the whole way through.
Annabelle Wallis gives a jaw dropping performance as Maddie. We slowly watch as she descends further and further into madness, unsure what is happening to her or why. The third act in particular sees her give it her all and I was astounded at how well she pulled it off. Also I feel the need to address that clearly Mckenna Grace is the hardest working child actress in Hollywood. She shows up here again as the younger version of our protagonist. It isn’t necessary for me to say once again how amazing of an actress she is, because we all know already, but wow, she has had more roles than a lot of adult stars. Good for her.
The film isn’t perfect. I did think it was a little too long. We could have shaved about fifteen to twenty minutes off. And we were left with a lot of plot holes. A lot of which I can’t discuss here without giving away huge spoilers. But the whole car ride home we are discussing a lot of things that were just never addressed in the film. I might do a separate spoiler filled review to discuss these at a later date.
It is safe to say that I loved this film a lot and would highly recommend to horror fans who like that weird, surreal style of horror.
‘Malignant’ is out in UK cinemas now!!