REVIEW / FILM OPINION – Between two parts of “Aquaman”, James Wan returns to his favorite genre with “Malignant”. A horror film with which the director of “Saw” and “Conjuring: The Warren Files” exploits its full potential?
Malignant : resumption of fundamentals
The opening of Malignant takes place in an imposing isolated research institute, during a night in 1993. While she testifies to the evolution of a patient, a surgeon is called urgently because the latter is operating a real massacre. Bodies fly, bones break, and the staging suggests a misshapen individual with superhuman strength.
This introduction sets the tone. James Wan is back to horror and immediately warns that the boogeyman of his new feature film does not intend to be refined. After an opening credits where it is question of dissection, the film presents Madison, his heroine embodied by Annabelle wallis. As soon as she arrives at her home, a large, dark and sad house, the young woman is beaten by her husband, who violently crushes her head against a wall.
After dark, she is awoken by an uproar as she locks herself in her room. Madison finds the crushed body of her husband and is chased through the halls of her house by a shadow capable of controlling electricity, which is none other than the supposed abomination of the first sequence.
Malignant then takes the form ofa classic home invasion, but particularly effective. In a setting reminiscent of the habitat of parapsychologists from Conjuring: The Warren Records, the director navigates in conquered ground. In two scenes of terror at home, he manages to create a climate of tension, reusing movements ofInsidious and making every corner of the house disturbing. But if the effects work, the feeling of witnessing an unprecedented proposal from the filmmaker is totally absent.
The share of darkness
It was when the narrative drifted away from Madison’s property that Malignant becomes the most interesting. Quickly, the heroine discovers that she has a psychic bond with his oppressor and finds himself mentally witnessing his executions. Gradually, the form is revealed and the “cancer” evoked by the surgeon in the opening is now a disarticulated but powerful body, which gives itself to their heart’s content as soon as it comes to revenge on the caregivers who had tried to excise it.
The film turns into an investigation around this connection and again proves effective. Despite the presence of a policeman played loosely by George Young and the beginning of a romance as futile as it is unfinished between the latter and Sydney, Madison’s sister played by Maddie Hasson, several scenes hold attention.
This is the case of a chase in the Seattle Underground where the sets allow James Wan to stay in the gothic and hazy aesthetic operated since Dead Silence. Little by little, the director lets go, especially when he films the antics of his contortionist boogeyman.
While the beginning of the feature film promised the appearance of a “monster” like that of the brilliant Phenomena of Dario Argento, he finally plays more on the concept of double evil, like The Spirit of Cain Where The Dark Part.
A jubilant conclusion
An idea accentuated by a final twist after which James Wan does not settle no more limit. The filmmaker sends a first twist to play on the proximity between Madison and the unleashed killer, before binding them definitively during a jubilant sequence in a police station.
A last act where, as in the nervous Death Sentence, the director assumes all the excess that his scenario offers him. He no longer bothered with the slightest logic and unveils a show that is not stingy in meat shedding. He strives to build a coherent evolution for Madison but frees it of any emotional consistency, favoring a pleasing one-upmanship.
Under its airs of classic horror film with which James Wan pays a wise tribute to the giallo, hides unbridled pleasure, crazy but deeply generous. After the mess Aquaman, Malignant confirms that horror is better for the filmmaker, including when he is coasting.
Malignant by James Wan, released on 1er September 2021. Above the trailer. Find all our trailers here.