I just remembered I had to do the day thread, so I’m going to briefly talk about Malignant, which is out this week and has already cemented its place as one of the best movies of the year.
Malignant, directed by James Wan and written by Akela Cooper (from a story by Cooper, Wan, and Ingrid Bisu), concerns Madison, who begins having premonitions of murders as they happen. She sees a monstrous figure killing several people around Seattle, and begins to worry that the figure is going to come after her- who or what is this creature, and what are its origins? Its motivations? Once these things were revealed, I laughed out loud for a solid half hour.
Wan expertly balances the haunted-house movie and the serial-killer procedural before throwing both out the window around the 75-minute mark to be an absolute psycho. The tonal escalation works not only because it’s so inventive, but because there’s an earnest heart at the core of the film. The nasty violence is grounded by careful writing, which provides Madison with a family support network that makes the emotional catharsis at the end surprisingly successful.
Malignant looks great, sounds great, and most importantly, goes really hard. It’s a film with ridiculous wigs, awe-inspiring stunts, practical creature design, over-the-top dramatic music underscoring everything, absurdly expository dialogue, an insane asylum on the side of a cliff, a 70s-exploitation homage in a women’s prison complete with disco outfits, and not one, but two of the greatest falls ever committed to the screen. It’s kinetic, energetic, I took six friends and we spent most of the third act with the rest of the theater quite literally yelling in delight.
Malignant is currently playing in theaters and on HBO Max. See it with other people.