James Wan’s ‘Malignant’ provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience of comedy and horror

"James Wan" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 Photo credit: "James Wan" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

For many horror fans, James Wan is regarded as one of the most important filmmakers in the genre. He’s responsible for films like “The Conjuring,” “Insidious” and the original “Saw”, which broke barriers in terms of filmmaking styles.

Wan repeatedly demonstrates his tremendous talent by effectively scaring an audience with a plot that is often miles beyond the regular horror film. “Insidious,” for example, explores the concept of astral projections and sleep paralysis. In “Saw,” he brilliantly connects the concepts of sin and remorse through a wicked game of punishment. With Wan, one thing is for certain, and that is originality.

His new film “Malignant” is no different.

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This movie has quite possibly one of the craziest ideas I have ever seen in a film — truly shocking. I have seen a lot of films, but nothing like this one.

At the moment, “Malignant” has 76% on Rotten Tomatoes, 6.3 on IMDB and 51% on Metacritic. It’s this disparity between popular opinion and critics from all walks of life, splitting right in the middle. Some hate it for certain reasons, while others love it for the mere, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

This film can be summed up as a hilariously genius detective comedy-horror with very bad acting and lots of chair swinging. It is a film you walk into with no expectations. It is a film you must watch with a group. It is a film that you watch with a couple of drinks already in your system because no matter how you prepare yourself for it, you’ll never be ready.

I could tear “Malignant” apart for many reasons, from the corny dialogue to the tedious and confusing first act. However, all is forgiven simply because it’s just James Wan having fun with the genre.

By placing false clues throughout the film, Wan tricks the audience in a mesh of complicated and overwhelming storytelling that will make you play the bad detective. At the same time, Wan pays homage to predecessors like Sam Raimi’s “The Evil Dead,” among others. It is a gory, but glorious self-parody to all that is James Wan and the horror movie genre.

Beyond all of this, “Malignant” is a worthwhile watch mainly because of its bizarre second half. It’s one of those instances where the experience of watching a film is more important than the film itself.

So, plan accordingly and evade all social media mentions of this film. It’s up there with hearing the twist to “Fight Club” or “The Sixth Sense,” but with a lighter tone. It’s not as important as spoiling the mind-blowing aspect of it. It’s more important not spoiling the fun you can have watching this movie with your friends.

To watch “Malignant,” head to a theatre near you. And please, don’t forget the drinks!

Featured image “James Wan” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0