Malignant ★★★

A surprising, and fun, glimpse at what a B-movie looks like with a $40 million budget. Malignant lets you know straight away what kind of movie it is, even if it’s not even remotely the movie you were expecting if you even paid a cursory amount of attention to the marketing for the film. At every opportunity the movie takes further and further turns towards the ridiculous, until it’s almost as if you’re watching a Frank Henenlotter film that’s been directed by the Wachowski sisters after binge-watching a bunch of Argento and Fulci. It’s not just the silliness that makes the movie a fun time, but Wan’s exuberant direction that is both incredibly slick and tirelessly energetic. The script, ridiculous premise aside, is banal and the performances range from questionable to forgettable, but any time the scares or action pick up James Wan goes full-tilt with the camera to ensure maximum dynamism. From craning over a huge multi-floor set of a house to show the protagonist running around like it’s a fully visualized doll-house, to scenes of mayhem where the camera is spiraling around with all the gusto of John Woo. The film’s many shortcomings (like a certain cover song musical cue that kept popping up, never failing to send my eyes rolling up into my skull) are forgiven quite a bit by Wan’s obvious talent and his wide-ranging genre appreciation.

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