Malignant (2021) Movie Review


Malignant: A Daring and Completely Bonkers Horror Masterpiece

James Wan has long established himself as one of the modern masters of horror, having kickstarted major franchises like Saw and The Conjuring.

However, his latest film Malignant takes things to an entirely new level of batshit crazy. With its innovative plot twists and over-the-top gory practical effects, Malignant proves Wan is still willing to take risks and push boundaries in the genre.

A Plot Full of Surprising Twists

On the surface, Malignant seems like a relatively straightforward serial killer thriller following a woman named Madison who is experiencing bizarre visions related to a string of murders.

But things take a truly left-field turn when the true nature of these visions is revealed. I won't spoil the major plot twist, but suffice to say it pivots the story into completely uncharted horror territory.

The unpredictable revelations keep audiences constantly guessing until the very end.

Style Over Subtlety

It's clear from the get-go that Malignant has style in spades. Wan pulls out all the visual stops with creative camerawork, lush production design, and a pulsing electronic score.

However, some critics argue this overt stylization comes at the cost of subtle scares. Personally, I appreciated Wan throwing subtlety out the window in favor of an all-out sensory assault. It perfectly mirrors the over-the-top nature of the plot.

Gore Galore

Horror buffs will be delighted by the copious amounts of gruesome practical effects gore on display. While CGI blood and violence is common these days, Malignant opts for good old-fashioned practical kills.

This includes some truly jaw-dropping murder sequences that put even the most brutal of slasher flicks to shame. Fans of substance over style will love how Wan pushes the visceral envelope.

Performance and Story Hold It Together

Despite its bombastic tendencies, Malignant still succeeds in telling a compelling story thanks to strong performances.

Annabelle Wallis owns the role of Madison with a mix of vulnerability and fierce resilience. Meanwhile, the layered themes of medical ethics and the true nature of evil keep the narrative grounded even as things get crazy.

A Horror Game-Changer

In the end, Malignant is that rare breed of horror film that manages to be equally parts unsettling, amusing, and thought-provoking.

While some found it too gonzo, it's clear Wan intended to shake up stale formulas. With its shameless weirdness and mastery of tension-release, Malignant proves some films can be smart and stupid at the same time.

True horror fans who appreciate creative risk-taking will find much to love. This is a movie experience unlike any other, for better or worse.


James Wan transcends genre expectations with Malignant, delivering a horror movie experience like no other. Between its daring twists, visceral kills, and wall-to-wall style, it succeeds in being one of 2021's most memorably bizarre films. Even if it's not for everyone, Malignant stands out as a true artform outlier that deserves recognition for its fearlessness. Horror buffs looking for something new and different will find much to appreciate in this twisted cinematic rollercoaster ride.

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