Malignant ★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Another entry in the long line of films which love using rape and reproductive health trauma as a means of shocking its audience.

To set the mood, it starts off with a man blaming his pregnant woman for getting pregnant and having had miscarriages. He ends up physically assaulting her (as seems to be the norm in their abusive relationship), which results in her having another miscarriage. The evil in this movie stems from a rape-related pregnancy, which resulted in making the parent deliver a so-called "Devil". Due to what happened, he has harboured resentment against his sibling and parent all his life and is now out for blood and revenge. I'm not sure what kind of message the writers were trying to send here, as the Devil here becomes a living manifestation of the consequence of rape. Yes, he kills the doctors who ended up hurting him, but at large who he really hurts are the innocent people, the victims. The pregnant parent and the sibling who he caused to have multiple miscarriages. I'm not sure what to make of this or what the message is here.

However, even if we push the backstory and implications of the horror aside, we're still left with, in my opinion, completely one-dimensional characters, subpar acting and a derivative plot up until the last twenty or so minutes where it decides to go off the rails and do something else. Whilst the effects may look nice at first glance and the editing tries to be creative and powerful, it completely falls flat as I never once felt the tension or atmosphere the movie tried to create amounting to much. The kills left me cold and were pretty cookie cutter. On top of it, the movie feels its length and not in the good way. Before the exciting part kicks in, we're made sure to be thrown into a women's prison scenario whose framing and air is filled with queerphobia and antagonism. The killing of those women may look stylish, but in the film where the beginning of the generational violence was triggered by a rapist, and where women are the ones bearing the full brunt of the psychological and physical onslaught thereof, I can't help but have a bad taste in my mouth.

The body horror elements are great and those twenty minutes or so make great use of it and may be stylish and fun, yet they're wrapped up in a narratively mediocre way, with a background-wise of rape and reproductive health trauma for shock value.

I'm tired.

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