Horror, Cult Movies, Exploitation Cinema, 70s Schlock, and more! Let’s look at something cool!
This film is so full of silly crap, two quotes win placement up top. Hooray!
“Oh my God he speaks.”
‘He’s broadcasting his thoughts!’ – #CaptainObvious
“So I’m putting out a BOLO on Sloth from The Goonies?” – I can’t tell whether this line is supposed to be satirical, or lampshading. Or both. But it feels so much like CinemaSins, I’m adding a sin.
Genre: Horror Ripoffs Couched As Homage
Year Released: 2021
Pedigree: Written, produced, and directed by horrormeister James Wan
Where I Watched: HBOMAX
Synopsis: Maddie is a nurse, I think? She’s got an abusive hubby, and a baby on the way. But when a shocking event happens? People start dying. Nobody she knows…OR DOES SHE? *cue way too loud repetitive bass beat*
Fabulous or Frustrating?: Yeah, I’ma ruin this film for horror fans right now. But as most of you who really wanted to see this probably already have? I’m not sorry. So without further ado? I guess Malignant would be AMAZING for anyone who haven’t already seen Basket Case. Me? *yawns* *giggles*
This sucker is almost 2 hours long. Two. Hours. It really needed judicious editing, because there’s really while I was going to say there’s really only an hour’s worth of story here. It’d have made a great Tales from the Crypt episode at that length. Ah, what could have been… Malignant is, at its core, a modern mash-up of Basket Case, with clichés from several “I can see the killer killing” films thrown in, along with a few exteriors right out of the remake of House on Haunted Hill.
I audible groaned when I realized that I was only halfway through the film when I thought that the climax was right around the corner. (That actually happened a few other times throughout this film’s run time.) Damn I hate when that happens, not only because I have to sit and watch another chunk of garbage, but because I’m pissed off that the creators did such a crappy job that I ended up pissed that I have to watch more, instead of excited to do so.
Several times in the film, there’s a line so stupid delivered with such balls-out solemnity that I laughed out loud. Plus, the CGI feels straight out of The Haunting remake. That is not a compliment. However, the on-screen makeup/gore effects are excellent. The effects for Gabriel though? Pretty darn hilarious CGI mixed with decent onscreen FX, which got undercut every time I saw an action shot of him battling during the climax of the film. Though to be fair, the effects for Belial in Basket Case were rather silly too, so I’ll give Malignant a pass on that particular bit.
Um, so…real spoilers in this paragraph, for anyone who cares? It’s easy to guess that the little boy/creature/thing in the first scene before the credits is actually a parasitic twin, and that bang on the head Maddie gets from hubby was a memory jolt that cracked off the twin and allowed him to literally break through. Plus, you can see right away that the killer has the exact same body type as Maddie, so there’s no real surprise (though at first I did figure they’d actually been conjoined and separated, but I guess that was too much of a rip-off.) I couldn’t help but think that even with all the Pilates in the whole damn world, there’s no way Maddie could go from tired worker bee to Neo from the Matrix when Gabe takes over. Way too much of a suspension of disbelief Okay, spoilers done.
This film also suffers from how-did-they-afford-that-itis. Young adults Maddie and her hubs have this gigantic Victorian house on at least an acre of land…in Seattle. Aside from the fact that the lead character is a nurse, no idea what her husband could have been doing for a living, if anything. A simple “we live in my family’s house”, “lived here before things blew up”, have hubs be uncomfortable with her highly lucrative job, or something like that, that could have been slipped in easily. Especially with all of the chaff footage that made it into the finished movie. It just threw me off my game every time I thought about it, I thought about it every time I saw that glorious, glorious house. I can’t help myself; I’m a set design junkie. I notice these things.
Yeah, I’m gonna wrap up, as I could go on and on about this one. Tl;dr? Malignant is a paint-by-numbers horror flick and the wunderkind known as James Wan should be much better than this. It’s also a waste of the wonderfully talented Mckenna Grace as a teenaged Maddie.
Freak-O-Meter: 1 out of 5 Freaks. But 4 out of 5 if you’re goof-watching while playing a “take a sip every time you notice a rip-off of some other movie” drinking game.