Malignant ★★★½

More James Wan goofiness than modern giallo, this is an insane and insanely cheesy thriller. It lacks the scares so expertly executed in The Conjuring and Insidious, instead making a film that pushes a bizarre concept to the max. Dead Silence is probably the most similar movie to this that he's made, though his flamboyant camerawork and CGI-driven action sequences seem more like what we saw in Aquaman.

The first act is bizarre - after the cold open ripped from a B-movie horror schlock movie (The Re-Animator almost certainly was an inspiration here), it devolves into DTV mediocrity, complete with bad wigs and obnoxiously overt B-roll (we get it, this takes place in Seattle).

The characters are pretty one-dimensional, a sad decline from some of his other work. I couldn't tell you a distinctive character traits of any of the main characters, and even the secondary characters like Ms Lonelyhearts doesn't have the charm I've come to expect from Wan flicks. The plot reveals are great, I genuinely thought I had it figured out and gasped when I realized I was wrong. The music cues are so silly and the big "moments" are played so pulpy, I kinda enjoy the boldness of it.

Really, I love the audacity of this story, but Wan needs to lay off the CGI and focus more on the script. A middle-of-the-pack entry in my list of films Directed by James Wan, Ranked!

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