Malignant ★★★★½

Watching Malignant goes something like this: solid first hour that builds mystery and offers pretty good scares, gorgeous colors and visual moments (James Wan's dynamic style of shooting, as if he wants the audience to appreciate the grand sets, is much enjoyable to watch), a middle portion that stacks revelations on top of revelations, the big twist that turns sh*t up to 11, then a final twenty minutes that's basically (as far as I can tell) a greatest-hits montage of Wan's strengths: gorgeous(ly disgusting) practical effects, a singular dedication to see through whatever insane stuff he came up with, and balls-to-the-walls action scenes that I fell in love with in Aquaman.

I'm not gonna tell you what the twist is, of course not, but I can most definitely tell you that this isn't what you think it is. It'll probably surprise you, maybe scare you (this isn't a straight-and-narrow horror movie by my reckoning, but that's OK), and hopefully thrill you. Wan himself has stated that this is a homage/love letter to horror greats and the general 1980s time period, and it shows that he's fully committed. I see traces of Craven, Fulci, Carpenter, Cronenberg, all honed to razor-sharp precision under the overarching gaze of a vision so unabashedly Wan. I can definitely understand how this wouldn't work for some people, yeah, but this thing was made for me. I love it. I don't think a lot of people mention the insane soundtrack by Joseph Bishara, and I simply have to — the music is perfect. One piece of music in particular is my favorite; it sounds suspiciously like Pixies' 'Where Is My Mind', and I certainly hope that's what Bishara was going for since it fits so well with the film's theme.

A new horror favorite, without question. All hail James Wan. And please, if there's any justice left in the world, give Annabelle Wallis whatever role she wants.

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