After taking some time to dip his toes into the world of superheroes with 2018's Aquaman, James Wan once again returns to his horror roots with Malignant. Originally slated to come out last year, the studio had been quite tight-lipped about even revealing any kind of synopsis. So I was quite surprised when the trailer came out and revealed what I thought to be far too much. Luckily I was wrong and the best parts of the film were not revealed in the marketing. I found that Malignant was a total ride that I was totally here for. That's not to say I wasn't skeptical of the film's purposefully schlocky B-movie tone...I really wasn't getting what James Wan was going for until it all clicked. There reached a certain point in this movie where I was just all in for whatever Wan decided to show us next.
Malignant tells the story of Madison (Annabelle Wallis), a pregnant woman grieving the loss of her husband after an unknown killer enters her home and murders him shortly after a domestic dispute between the couple. Problem is, the cops can't find any evidence he was ever there as there was no forced entry. But shortly after the incident, Madison starts having waking dreams with a front-row view into the killer's world as she witnesses him commit a series of murders. It's up to her, along with help from her sister Sydney (Maddie Lake), to look back into her mysterious past to find the connection between her and the killer, before Madison becomes more and more implicated in his crimes.
Malignant isn't so much scary as it is thrilling and it features one of the best action sequences of the whole year. Watching this movie was like riding a very intense roller coaster in the best possible way. Once it's over and you step off, you can't help but want to ride it all over again. My only complaint is I wish we could have used more practical effects along the way (as seen done much better with the backwards ghost in Anything for Jackson). While the action scenes toward the end are undoubtedly amazing, they also come off looking more like a video game than real life. All in all, while the film is definitely a nod to 80's B-movie horror, coming out now it just feels so fresh compared to mainstream horror that I can't help but love it in all of its bonkers glory.