Mars Hottentot’s review published on Letterboxd:
Though far from perfect and with a first act that got utterly wasted, by it's finish, MALIGNANT had won me over.
First, to really enjoy this, you're going to have to accept that MALIGNANT doesn't have the chops to pull off the character building it would need to do in order to really be great. However, it can't just jump right into the carnage either. That means you get a 40 minute slab of generic RINGU horror imagery, cardboard acting and lazy writing.
You'll be annoyed because it's so ponderous and none of the characters are fun or funny (correction: Budget Wanda Sykes and Patrick Dempsey are funny). Mostly you'll be fixated on the goofy wigs and terrible writing (one scene has Maddie Hasson's sister character climbing through a second floor window - which is highly unlikely, having seen the victorian monstrosity our lead, Annabelle Wallis, lives in. Also, why would Wallis be allowed to return to what is absolutely a crime scene with an at-large killer, and then be left alone at that? There's a lot of lazy shit like this).
But it won't matter because, when the gimmick finally kicks in, it's so spectacularly funny, absurd, gross and awesome - all is forgiven! The movie just stops giving a fuck and headbangs for the remainder of it's runtime until everything is destroyed. Then it shits itself. That's it!
A lot has been made regarding the giallo influence and, yeah, but I don't really feel like James Wan took it far enough; you won't be mistaking this for Bava or Argento. It's not garishly lit, nor is it all that suspenseful. This is super American and the killer is more in the mould of a Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees than any giallo murderer. And there's nothing wrong with that - as far as 80s influenced "Stalker Killer" films go, MALIGNANT ain't bad.
MINUS HALF-STAR: industrialized Pixies "Where is My Mind" stings.
HALF-STAR RESTORED: For not subjecting us to the whole song beyond that. Thank you so much.