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Malignant (2021)


5/10: Malignant
Sunday, September 19, 2021

The definition of "malignant" is: 1) disposed to cause harm, suffering, or distress deliberately; feeling or showing ill will or hatred, 2) very dangerous or harmful in influence or effect); there is also a pathological definition, which will be explained later. The trailer for this scary movie looked eerie, it being directed by James Wan (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring, Aquaman) got my attention, and the title certainly sounded sinister. Basically, in 1993, Dr. Florence Weaver (Jacqueline McKenzie) and her colleagues Dr. Victor Fields (Christian Clemenson) and Dr. John Gregory (Amir AboulEla) are treating a psychiatric patient named Gabriel at Simion Research Hospital. Gabriel has special powers, such as controlling electricity and broadcasting his thoughts via speakers. One night, Gabriel turns violent and kills many members of staff in the institution. Twenty-seven years later, in Seattle, Madison Mitchell (Peaky Blinders' Annabelle Wallis) has returned home after her pregnancy has caused her to feel ill at work. She has an argument...

8/10: VHS fumes and nasty junk
Tuesday, September 14, 2021

From the first time Malignant was announced, it was called James Wan's giallo film.A few thoughts on that.It's a giallo film as much as Suspiria is a giallo. That's because most people think, "Italian horror with red and blue colors equals giallo," which is much like someone thinking that all hip hop is rap or all metal has blast beats, maybe. It's a generalization and you know, you have to be fine with it. In a world where reviewers from publications as big as Variety can't understand that Halloween is not a rehash of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, you have to expect that some movies need a handle for people to better understand them.To the rest of us, those that haunted the aisles of the video stores minutes before closing, that carried lists of films in our wallets, that went from small town to town trying to find that magical movie drug that...

6/10: Conjoined and Gendered Body Horror
Sunday, September 12, 2021

Stick with this one, folks; it gets better. The most horrifying part of "Malignant" is its first act, including those opening credits that look like they're made for a TV show. I've seen this with a few horror films--walked out on one, for which I don't recall the title, years ago--and saw the dreadful, but cinematically so, "Flyboys" (2006) instead, that's how much I detest such thematic credits. And, then, it's just the other tropes of VHS tapes and aesthetics, mad scientists, flickering lights, jump scares, a disjointed monster with hair in its face, and director James Wan doing the same supernatural fluff and visions of murder scenes he'd already done in "The Conjuring" series.Then, things get wild, and I'm not just talking about the CGI-enhanced action scenes and twirling camerawork, let alone the supposed merits of being surprised by the perfunctory "twists" and the grab-bag of dated...

5/10: crazy Wan horror
Monday, September 13, 2021

In a research hospital in 1993, Dr. Florence Weaver faces a growing threat from Gabriel who seems to control electricity. She is forced to order ending him. In present day, a pregnant Madison Lake (Annabelle Wallis) is slammed against the wall by her angry husband. A mystery figure kills him and she wakes up in the hospital. Her supportive sister Sydney Lake (Maddie Hasson) tells her that she lost her baby. Police detectives Kekoa Shaw (George Young) and Regina Moss (Michole Briana White) investigate.James Wan comes home to horror. I like the backward facing killer. I don't find the mystery that compelling. More than anything, it's a bit confusing more than compelling. At the end of the day, I kept thinking that there is one easy solution... suicide. The movie never has the daring to approach that subject matter. It was always in her head and that's where the battle was going to be won or...

9/10: James Wan's return to form in a truly unnerving Giallo inspired horror film with echoes of THE DARK HALF
Monday, September 13, 2021

MALIGNANT (2021) ***1/2 Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young, Michole Briana White, Jean Louisa Kelly, Susanna Thompson, Jake Abel, Jacqueline McKenzie, Christian Clemenson, Mercedes Colon, Zoe Bell. Filmmaker James Wan - who script collaborated with Ingrid Bisu based on Akela Cooper's screenplay - returns to form in this eerie and involving horror film with Wallis as an abused woman who learns a horrifying truth when she learns her imaginary friend 'Gabriel' is real and seeking revenge with a body count she viscerally experiences. With a dollop of Romero's THE DARK HALF and some Giallo underpinnings the film manages to unnerve as it unspools particularly in its last WTF act of highly stylized cinematic wizardry with aplomb and awe. Wallis - who resembles a hybrid of Cate Blanchett and Isabelle Adjani - particularly the latter's tour-de-force in POSSESSION that her performance echoes in her possession sequences

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