By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
is the latest supernatural horror film from director James Wan
whose arsenal includes the thrillers: “Insidious,” “Saw, “Annabelle” and “The Conjuring” series.
“Malignant,” which Wan co-wrote with Akela Cooper (TV’s Upcoming “Star Trek: Strange New World”), and his wife Ingrid Bisu--who also stars in the movie-- isn’t based on Wan’s graphic novel “Malignant Man” or any other film for that matter. “Malignant” is however, at times a clever, humorous, and effective movie that starts slowly and builds into a blood-splattering fright fest.
The movie takes place in Seattle 1993. We are introduced to Dr. Florence Weaver (Jacqueline McKenzie, TV’s “Bloom”) and her colleagues Dr. Victor Field (Christian Clemenson, TV’s “The Good Doctor”) and Dr. John Gregory (Amir AboulEla, TV’s “Legion”) at the Simon Research Hospital. They’re trying to find out what’s causing a malignant entity to seize control of their communications operations and made one of their patients kill a staff member and break the arm of a security guard. That’s just the beginning of the havoc this thing is about to unleash.
It all has something to do with a young woman named Madison Mitchell (Annabelle Wallis, TV’s “Star Trek: Discovery”). She’s pregnant and gets very little support from her abusive husband Derek (Jake Abel, TV’s “Supernatural”). He punches her and knocks her into their bedroom wall leaving her unconscious and her head bloodied. Old Derek gets what’s coming to him when a burglar/shadowy figure breaks into their home and kills him.
Was it really a burglary? Madison can’t remember much and is shocked that she’s in the hospital. Her sister Sydney (Maddie Hasson, TV’s “Mr. Mercedes”) is by her side and must tell her she’s lost the baby. It’s her third miscarriage in the last two years. Sydney tells her the good news is that she no longer has to deal with that jerk Derek.
What Madison has gained is the ability to somehow visualize dreams of grisly murders. Of course, everyone thinks she’s crazy including police detectives, Kekoa Shaw (George Young, TV’s “Containment”) and Regina Moss (Michole Briana White, TV’s “Goliath”) who are assigned to her husband’s case as well as others that crop up that Madison knows about.
It turns out that the murders that Madison predicts and that keep creeping in her dreams are tied to a sinister force named Gabriel that is connected to her childhood.
Although “Malignant” isn’t as scary as I had hoped, it manages to pack some punch. Much of that credit goes to Wan who knows his way around good jump scares and spooky scenes that make you squirm.
While I didn’t have to sleep with my lights on after watching it, “Malignant” is still the type of horror movie you don’t want to haunt your dreams.
You can check out “Malignant” in theaters and on HBO Max.
Watch This Trailer For "MALIGNANT"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.