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    I Watched "Malignant," The New Horror Movie Everyone's Raving About, And I Can't Stop Thinking About It

    Dare I say the "most important horror film of this decade" already?

    People can't stop talking about Malignant, and, wow, I cannot stop thinking about it.

    "Malignant" title card in red-letters
    Warner Bros.


    1. James Wan, I'm sorry I doubted your word.

    James Wan speaks to the camera in a sit-down interview
    Warner Bros.

    I rolled my eyes when James Wan said horror fans were in need of something new when a movie called Lamb about a lamb-boy was coming out later this year.

    Man, was I wrong, and as a horror fan, I am so glad this movie exists.

    The more this movie progressed, the more it just spiraled farther down into the rabbit hole of the unusual. 

    2. That twist.

    Two women, mouths agap
    Warner Bros.

    So, how about that twist?

    Wan created something so bizarre here, something very reminiscent of his weirdness in the film Dead Silence. Gabriel being the "cancer" cut from Madison's body was an unexpected way to go, especially in a movie that was promoted to be more of a paranormal-looking film in its TV spots.

    No complaints here. I love a good monster flick, and this might be the most original horror villain we have seen in a while. That being said...

    3. Basket Case basically spoiled the surprise for me.

    Analysis Film Releasing Corporation

    I had watched Basket Case (1982) for the first time ever within the past year, so I hate to admit that I had an idea where the twist was going. From the title to the backward limbs of Gabriel, the hair, and specifically the chase scene (for some reason), really tied it all together in my head.

    That being said, I was still shocked to see an entire body attached to Madison's back during the big reveal, a very cool shot accompanied by a haunting score.

    4. Gabriel's design was one of the best of any recent horror movie baddie.

    A bladed being sharpened
    Warner Bros.

    The jacket. The gloves. The golden knife forged from a trophy of his victim.

    Everything about Gabriel's look even before the big reveal was excellent. The progression of his appearance from the opening to seeing his face for the first time worked so well and made him a compelling character even though he was shrouded in mystery.

    Did I mention he was scary? But not because of his looks...

    5. Gabriel's motives were the most terrifying thing about this movie.

    Long-haired figure leans over in front of a giant mechanical fan
    Warner Bros.

    Talk about making it personal.

    A great element of "who owns this body" for Madison's character really made this a frightening story. Obviously, plenty of underlying messaging there, and realizing Madison was not in control was far scarier than any jump scare.

    Which brings me to my next thought...

    6. Was Malignant scary?

    Long-haired person hovers over a woman in bed
    Warner Bros.

    Maybe I'm numb to horror films, but I feel like this was the least scary of Wan's films. If I had a heart monitor on during my first viewing, I bet my pulse was pretty steady from start to finish.

    But that doesn't mean I didn't like it. In horror, there is always plenty to get out of it, especially the effects.

    7. The effects in this really showed what mainstream horror is capable of in the right hands.

    A room collapses in a dream-like state around a woman
    Warner Bros.

    The "vision" sequences for Madison were very cool and really added a dynamic style to what I expected to just be a ghost flick. That, Gabriel's movements, the bird's-eye camera shots (a Wan signature) was all a lovely balance of pretty and gruesome film work for this chaotic movie.

    8. I liked the sibling storyline, and it was a nice change of pace from the stereotypical parents and their children dealing with the supernatural.

    Two women look shocked
    Warner Bros.

    Gabriel's jealousy of Madison's stepsister Sydney being one of his main motivations was the icing on the cake for me. I liked the sisters' relationship throughout the movie, and to make that a driving force of Gabriel's motives I just thought was great...and again, a breath of fresh air to the genre.

    And when you have something great, I feel like this outweighed another piece of this puzzling film.

    9. The boyfriend aspect was a bit of an afterthought.

    Shadow stands behind a man
    Warner Bros.

    I've watched well over 40 horror movies this year, and most are 90 minutes long. I feel like the abusive boyfriend part of the screenplay could have been written off entirely (onscreen at least) and still hammered home the "Madison taking control of her body" point of the story to save time.

    Anything could have been the awakening for Gabriel, as long as Madison hit her head. At the end of the day, it's creative writing, so no hate on Wan, but this was an aspect I thought should have been either expanded or cut entirely.

    10. Speaking of scenes, that police room scene was one of the more unique things I've seen in a horror film.

    Director James Wan directs actors dressed as police officers
    Warner Bros.

    I didn't know Gabriel went to the same fight classes as John Wick.

    What a weird action sequence for a horror film. To me, it was all worth it to see Madison's face peaking over the collar throughout the gruesome slaughter. Even if you didn't like this film, you have to admit, it threw a lot of unexpected things at you, like this fight scene.

    11. I wish the campiness was toned down a little bit.

    Doctor being tossed into a wall
    Warner Bros.

    I found the movie hilarious, specifically the detectives, so I'm fine with a film being funny, but I didn't enjoy the campiness of the doctors in the opening. To me, the acting of the doctors and the rest of the film really didn't fit at all, and I don't like the excuse of it being used as misdirection.

    I also hate when off-the-wall movies don't commit, and instead, lean on campiness as a failsafe in case people make fun of the ridiculousness of the playing it off like a joke. Commit to your ridiculousness and hit the ground running. I want madness in horror, and just because classic horrors are campy, doesn't mean you can't evolve and give us something new.

    I don't know. Felt really strongly about this, because I feel like a lot of movies do this nowadays instead of adding comedy in your own voice (example: the interactions between the detectives were great and hilarious, but not like slapstick, bad acting like the opening).

    -Ramble ends-

    12. Will the movie lose its magic on the second watch?

    Old VHS tape of girl's birthday party being played on a TV
    Warner Bros.

    I have yet to watch it for a second time, but I wonder if the mystique is gone.

    I loved the ride, but is it worth a second go? We'll see. It's hard for a movie with such a jarring twist to reengage an audience once the cat is out of the bag. My hope is that it is like Friday the 13th, where knowing the twist does not matter, and it is still a rewatchable cult classic.

    13. I want a Law & Order-like sequel.

    Woman being interrogated
    Warner Bros.

    There are so many questions unanswered after this film. Will Madison still serve jail time for a crime she didn't commit? Will the prosecution still infer that her body made the kills even IF they believe her and the other eyewitnesses? Did Gabriel's electrical powers knock out all video proof of his existence?

    Give me Malignant II, please. And even with all the criticisms from the masses, stick to creating your own vision once again, Mr. Wan. We need more storytellers who are unafraid to take such wild risks.

    What did you think of Malignant? Do you want to see a Malignant II? Comment below!

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