Paul Hibbard’s review published on Letterboxd:
Malignant is James Wan going completely bonkers, reminding people that regardless of being known now as one of the most bankable directors in terms of returning a profit and appealing to the mainstream, he is still influenced by the same insane and daring films that all horror nerds grew up on.
The trailer makes it look like it's going to be a haunted psychological thriller/horror, and thank god it wasn't that. What a waste of Wan that would have been.
That said, Malignant is frustratingly short of being great, which comes in the execution, not the brilliant premise. The tonal jump the film is attempting has too much turbulence and becomes stuck between the world of the setup and the world of the twist. Characters are still too dramatic and self-serious when the dial should have been all the way to 11 on the hammy dial.
*possible spoiler by comparison to other movies. Just stop reading if you haven't seen*
Basket Case is the obvious comparison in plot, but De Palma's Sisters is the more apt comparison in tone to what this movie is going for. And Sisters is one of my favorite De Palma's and a good reference of a director having his cake and eating it too with living in two worlds with his film and excelling at the drama and camp equally perfectly.
In the end I still like Malignant and appreciate such insanity brought into larger-budgeted mainstream film. Wan did a bait and switch in the marketing and I'm happy he is using his clout to tell daring stories others would be afraid of destroying their careers on