Quick-Thoughts: James Wan’s Malignant

I see Wan borrowed some elements from Whannell’s Upgrade (2018) in this. Aww, their filmmaking friendship is just so precious!

I don’t have a whole lot to say about this one. It feels like Wan’s attempt at balancing his excessive, gory, and extroverted manias from Saw (2004) with the silky, calculated shooting and exorcist confrontational dramas from his Conjuring (2013 – 2016) movies with a touch of gimmicky retro slasher aesthetic, which makes for, unfortunately, a sleazy misfire where he just hodgepodges it all together so carelessly, inserting trademark after trademark and hoping that bits and pieces will land for an array of generations who grew up on the genre’s historical variety. I refuse to give Wan commendable credit though for essentially Ready Player One-ing horror tropes into one movie and expecting us to just senselessly care for the skeletal narrative that hosts it. Like… besides the already dull pacing, plot, tone, etc., the character writing and acting more notably in Malignant are impressively dead, but I’m sure this will only be deja vu for Friday the 13th fans. Very disappointed with this one, but hey, at least it looks really neat and has gnarly special effects as per most James Wan productions.

Verdict: C-

2021 Ranked

“Malignant” is now playing in theaters and available to stream on HBO Max.

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