I had heard good things about Malignant and I like James Wan, so I thought I would give it a go, and here is my Last Movie Outpost review.
Written and directed by James Wan, co-written by Ingrid Bisu and Akela Cooper, Malignant stars Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young, Michole Briana White, and Jacqueline McKenzie.
The story, according to the blurb, is:
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.
The story opens in 1993 in a hospital of sorts and Gabriel is freaking out, with the lights flickering and the staff getting thrown around. They tranquilize Gabriel and strap him down. Then one of the doctors says:
“It’s time to cut out the cancer…”
I would go into more details about the story but it was actually pretty complex, in a good way. I like a story that plays out well and isn’t just a simple “from A to B” plot. The movie doesn’t have twists or turns in it, but it is well done. Apart, that is, from some issues that I will get around to.
The cast is all very good. I can’t say I have heard of all of them, but they are all convincing.
As I said, I like Wan, he’s a good director and there are some amazing shots in the movie. There’s a great one where it’s all from above as one of the cast moves around the shot, it’s really well done. There’s also an action sequence near the end that is highly competent and very much like the opening action sequence in Aquaman.
The CGI is mixed, there are some places it’s really good, panning around a character as the room changes from one to another. However, there is some bad CGI. For instance, you can see the main bad guy is mostly CGI, which takes the edge off.
One issue I did have was the set production. The main bad guy is Gabriel and he has a studio of sorts. It has a massive industrial fan in the wall, which looks amazing, but makes no sense! When you find out where his studio is, it makes even less sense.
* Spoilers *
As I said, the story is pretty good and goes into a lot of detail, but they then seem to miss other plot details.
Gabriel seems to have powers to affect electricity, talk through the radio and make anonymous phone calls somehow. Unless I missed a small line somewhere, none of this is explained! This was a pretty major issue for me for two reasons.
Firstly, I just couldn’t understand how he was doing it. As I said, there’s no explanation, but it makes no sense to the rest of the movie. The writing was OK, but missing out on this vital piece of information was not good.
Secondly, because of the above, the movie couldn’t decide if it was a murder mystery or a supernatural horror. There are murders that take place and the police are trying to find out who is doing it, making it a murder mystery, but then when the talking through the radio thing starts, it all goes supernatural.
The other issue and *major spoilers ahead* is that Gabriel actually lives in Madison and it turns out Gabriel can control Madison, Tyler Durdon style. However, when he takes over he twists all of her arms and legs backward. This looks good, apart from the bad CG, but how is it possible? If you twist someone’s elbows backward I’m pretty sure they just won’t go back?
It seems that Gabriel can make Madison see whatever he wants to, but quite often we see both Gabriel and Madison in the same room. I was sure that Gabriel would only make Madison see from his viewpoint, not from some type of projection. It was weird.
Also, near the end of the movie, Gabriel is able to pick and throw a hospital bed. When Madison is back, apparently she can lift the bed too, since Gabriel can. Again, I didn’t understand this and no rules are set out to clarify how this works.
*End Of Spoilers*
The idea of the movie was good, but the story wasn’t told very well. It was a shame, because there are creepy moments in it, the majority of the CG is good and some of the photography is excellent. As the story goes on it just starts to unpick and make less and less sense.
Overall I give Malignant a 2 out of 5, a fairly original idea but you can’t examine the story too much because there are issues that aren’t explained. I probably would see it again, but I’m not in a hurry.