Horrortoberfest ’21 Day 1 – Malignant (2021)

The first day back for a brand new Horrortoberfest and I’m starting out with a few movies that I’ve been wanting to see before getting into the themed weeks ahead. This movie had been recommended to me several times but I knew absolutely nothing about it going in aside from it was a James Wan joint. But, when even non-horror fans tell me it’s weird and fun, I have to find out what all the fuss is about.

Our movie centers around Madison, a woman married to an abusive piece of shit that just wants to have a baby but keeps having miscarriages. After her husband smacks her head into a wall, though, things begin to get real weird and real deadly. Now Madison, her sister, and a couple detectives need to figure out why these murders are happening and why Madison seems to be at the center of it all. The answer is almost certainly not what you expect.

Wan does an amazing job on this movie, especially from a visual perspective. Many of his other horror outings I’ve found to be mildly enjoyable at best but Malignant stands out to me in the way it delivers it’s story. The visuals and camera tricks that are capable of being done now with modern CGI and effects blend so well with a movie that feels like, plot wise, it would have been right at home on video rental shelves next to Basket Case and The Toxic Avenger. Capturing that low budget, 80’s horror feel in a high budget, well made modern movie is no mean feat.

The movie has plenty of twists and turns throughout its runtime and, just when you think you’ve got it figured out, it makes you question that conclusion. Thankfully, the twists don’t feel forced or like they exist just to be twists. Instead, the movie’s strange premise ends up causing there to be twists just by its very nature. Annabell Wallis does a great job of selling the character of Madison with the ability to seem both truly innocent and scared but also very much off somehow.

In all, I think this is a great modern horror film. It has enough blood to satisfy those watching that want a little gore in their horror but also has enough intrigue and strangeness that it will please those that are more interested in thrills than spills.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

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