Malignant is a 2021 American horror film directed by James Wan from a screenplay by Akela Cooper, based on a story by Wan, Ingrid Bisu, and Cooper. The film stars Annabelle Wallis as a woman who begins to have visions of people being murdered, only to realize the events are happening in real life. Maddie Hasson, George Young, Michole Briana White, and Jacqueline McKenzie also star.
Malignant was theatrically released in the United States on September 10, 2021, by Warner Bros. Pictures under the New Line Cinema banner; it also streamed on HBO Max for one month.
Twenty-seven long years after the brutal Simion Research Hospital incident, abused Madison wakes up in a hospital in present-day Seattle. But with numbing visions of murder getting in the way of a normal life, more and more, Madison's obscure past emerges, baffling both herself and the local detectives. Are these explicitly violent killings figments of Madison's troubled imagination? Either way, someone, or better yet, something, links the past to the present, demanding closure and blood. Is the bogeyman real?
- The acting is exciting and fun. Annabelle Wallis's prior credits in the horror genre, such as The Mummy (2017) and Annabelle are not exactly stellar, but in this film she puts forth a very powerful and effecting performance as The Woobie heroine, not to mention some strong physical acting in certain scenes.
- Gabriel. From his coat, custom-made knife made from a trophy, intimidating voice by Ray Chase, his over the top fighting style, his brutal one-sided massacre on the police station, and interesting backstory and powers has made quite the impression on audiences as a badass and unique horror villain.
- After Fields is murdered and Madison describes the location of the murder from her vision, Sydney supports her by telling the detectives that if she is wrong when they go to investigate, they can have Madison committed and slap the cuffs onto Sydney. Not two seconds later does she realize what she said and looks like she is seriously hoping Madison isn't wrong.
- There is also how Madison does a facial composite of the murderer she saw in her visions. Given it barely looks even human, Moss snarks "are we supposed to send off a manhunt for Sloth from The Goonies?"
- Gabriel's attacking the police station and making mincemeat of the officers? A terrifying display of power. Him throwing a chair from across the room to hit Detective Shaw? Hilarious at all say.
- Gabriel’s face, before and after he’s removed from Madison. While still having a body, he resembles a grotesque screeching parasitic monstrosity. His final form in adulthood is a malformed snarling demonic visage, coupled with his jerky body movements as he uses Madison’s body to kill.
- After Madison receives a brutal thrashing by the female inmates, this was enough force to awaken Gabriel. While screaming in agony, Madison holds the back of her head which splits open to reveal Gabriel's demonic face. Worse, her limbs twist around with audible cracking noises leading to Gabriel savagely massacring all the prisoners and then tearing into every police officer until two remained.
- Decent directing by James Wan, who returned to horror contains plenty of gory thrills and a memorably bonkers twist.
- When Sydney reveals to Madison that Gabriel was the one killing her fetuses, not only was it enough to give her the push she needed, she acquires the same powers her twin brother possesses and skillfully traps him in a hallucination. Even when he threatens that he would return, Madison retorts that she would be ready for him.
- Lots of shocking moments, such as the reveal that Gabriel is a malformed twin who lived in Emily's back. Sydney understandably screams in horror.
- The plot is similar to Basket Case and The Dark Half. Both revolve around an evil conjoined twin that commits a series of murders in order to get revenge on the people that were responsible for removing them.
- It isn't particularly scary that much.
Malignant received generally positive reviews. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 76% based on 157 reviews, with an average rating of 6.3/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Although Malignant isn't particularly scary, director James Wan's return to horror contains plenty of gory thrills—and a memorably bonkers twist.". On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 51 out of 100 based on 23 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported 59% of audience members gave it a positive score, with 38% saying they would definitely recommend it.