“Evil Incarnate” / Malignant
Directed by James Wan
Cast: Annabelle Wallis (Madison), Jake Abel (Derek), George Young (Kekoa), Maddy Hasson (Sydney), Michol Briana White (Regina), Jacqueline McKenzie (Dr. Weaver), Suzanne Thompson (Gene), Amir Abulela (Dr. Gregory), etc.
Студии Atomic Monster, Boom Entertainment, Boom! Studios
Release year 2021
You may not like the film works of the screenwriter and director James Wan, but it is pointless to deny their success. Seventeen years ago, he released the film “Saw” (Saw), which became the basis for a series of horror films of the same name. Nine years later, Wang created the media franchise The Conjuring Universe, which to this day is regularly updated with new films about demonic possession, dark curses and exorcism sessions. The films perform well at the box office, making The Conjuring Universe one of the highest-grossing horror franchises in the world.
It is worth noting that James Wan is engaged not only in horror films. Over the years, he managed to direct the action movie Furious 7, and also directed the superhero film Aquaman. Actually, for the sake of the DC Comics adaptation, James Wan temporarily stopped claiming the director’s chair in the new films of his franchise, preferring to remain in the position of producer.
After a long hiatus from directing horror (Wan’s last film was The Conjuring 2, released in 2016), James is back with a new project that, as it turns out, has nothing to do with The Conjuring Universe.
Malignant (it’s important to include the original title here, as it provides clues to the plot) is a mixture of different genres, with some thriller, some action, some horror, and quite a bit of good absurdity that replicates the moments of the second-rate films from 80 -x and 90s. According to James Wan, he tried to create a film that would go to the back of the shelves in the video rental store, which would be reached only by devoted horror fans.
To all this, in the new tape, Wang copied the aesthetics of the giallo films, rethinking the iconic Italian paintings in his own way. The result is a fascinating film hybrid that looks quite cheerful, but due to the specifics of the content, it does not reach great heights.
The main role in the film Malignant was played by actress Annabelle Wallis (known for the TV series Peaky Blinders, as well as for the horror Annabelle and the reboot of The Mummy fantasy). She plays a young woman named Madison who becomes a victim of domestic violence. After the trauma, Madison begins to experience terrible visions in which she watches how an unknown killer cracks down on people she does not know. The heroine is trying to understand how and why she is connected with a mysterious criminal, joining the investigation of police detectives.
At first, the film provides a good shake-up for those who came to the screening in the cinema, hoping to do without fright. Several tense scenes follow one after another, reminiscent of how the plot took place in almost all films from The Conjuring Universe (although there are no too scary scenes that are typical for the franchise).
But this is just a ploy by James Wan, who could not resist his trademark tricks, forcing the audience to be afraid of the evening scenes in the house where the main character lives. The two-story mansion, as if specially created for ghosts, hides a completely different secret, but you can’t understand it right away, although it seems that the operator deliberately gives hints, showing all the corners of the house from above, as if surveying a small labyrinth.
The most exciting moments of the film are the scenes in which a frightened Madison is transported from her home to the crime scene. She sees the last moments of the victim’s life, although the perpetrator, it would seem, does not notice her. Here, really, everything is like in giallo – the incidents become bloody, and the killer is more and more ruthless. He hides his face for a long time and carries a dagger with him, which the villain tightly grips in his hands, covered with leather gloves.
Lately, James Wan’s mystical media franchise has mostly used the same methods of intimidation, and the characters have all been the same, which is kind of boring. It seems that the director took this into account and tried to move away from the usual concept in order to surprise everyone who went to the cinema for his new horror (although some recognizable elements of intimidation were still useful here). At least, Van had never had such negative characters before, and none of them had ever escaped from the policemen who were near the body of the victim.
In addition, all the actions of the film Malignant are just a preparation for a crazy climax, which will either greatly amuse the viewer or make him resent.
Pros: The film is different from previous works by James Wan; giallo elements; scenes in which the heroine is transferred to the crime scene Cons: due to the specifics of the content, the film does not reach great heights Conclusion:
Malignant is a cross-genre mix that has some thriller, some action, some detective, some horror, and quite a bit of good absurdity.