Malignant (2021): What the…What?

It isn’t news that James Wan is a notably formidable presence in the horror world. While I generally enjoy (most of) his work, I can’t say that I predicted what Malignant would end up being.

If you’re reading this than you must know me or have at least have an indication (from my site name alone) that I’m someone who enjoys being surprised in horror and in the weird. Well, I’m happy to say that all three of these words would come up in a thought bubble when referring to this film. This is a very weird, surprising, horror film.

source: Warner Bros. Pictures

After a horribly traumatic event Madison (Annabelle Wallis) begins seeing strange hallucinations, as if she is there, with people being murdered. The who and what of these visions is eventually explained, but it has her digging into her own past, and questioning reality.

Told in a narrative design that upends as much as it does stall for answers, Malignant takes its time with clarity and then explodes into what I can only describe as the right kind of outrageousness.

It’s a film that isn’t afraid to take risks and doesn’t mind getting encompassed by the strange. The third act is really where it comes to life in absurd wild fashion providing a twist that is really unexpected.

I found myself actually laughing at the first scene where the twist is revealed, both out of surprise and also entertainment. It’s wild in its delivery, but it’s honestly what saved the movie for me. I often wondered after if I wished I could have known early on, but it wouldn’t have been as shocking if I had.

source: Warner Bros. Pictures

Malignant takes on an often dream-like, nearly trippy quality, and plays out some pretty impressive visuals that cascade over even the least flattering parts of the script. Some of the dialogue and by extension, acting, seems a bit off, but one wonders if that was part of Wan‘s decision with the film, which feels at once retro and also new. Often times the film seems to be self-aware and making a remark on itself as much as horror movies in general. As you watch you feel like it’s formulaic, but then comes a heavy swing that has you seeing past the tropes first pitched to you.

Sometimes the pieces don’t completely fit. In fact, they’re tossed at you like discarded notes throughout, but once you tape it all together it -well- still looks whacky, but it at least makes you feel less confused, and giddily intrigued.

It’s memorable, it’s bonkers, it’s Wan but more unhinged than he’s been. And yes, he made Saw. There’s camp, there’s creepy, and there’s most certainly a dose of wait…what? The final act is frenzied, bloodied and unrelenting.

Undoubtedly, Malignant will be a film that doesn’t hit all audiences in the same way. As a movie that embraces its outrageousness with open arms, there’s a admirable quality that may often get looked at as too far reaching, but I dug it.

Malignant is current in theaters and on HBO Max until October 10th

Weekly Watch Recs, (5/3-5/9) The Moms of Horror Edition

There is so much content out there! Any ideas?

For Mother’s Day (and because there isn’t a whole lot of new content I can chime in on) I figured why not make this all about appreciating some of the best Moms in horror!

Let’s face it, there are a lot of amazing mothers in horror’s cinematic inventory. Here’s a just a sampling! I tried to spread it out with different kinds of horror/portrayals (not necessarily favorites) but know- there are so many more!

Disclaimer: A good horror mommy, doesn’t a good “mother” make. Food for thought.

Mother knows best. 😏

source: A24

Hereditary (2018)

Can Toni Collette do wrong? (Said everyone, always, because she’s just so talented, and the answer is no). In Hereditary, she again proves this thought. It’s not an easy endeavor to protect your family from possession, but she gives it the old college try. She goes… full unraveled. Watch for consecutive disturbing reveals.

Available to stream on Showtime or Fubo tv.

source: Universal Pictures

Us (2019)

Lupita Nyong’o, Lupita Nyong’o, Lupita Nyong’o. Isn’t that enough? 😍 If you’ve somehow missed this terrific sophomore directorial effort from Jordan Peele with another spectacular performance from Lupita I would recommend rectifying that ASAP. Also, Lupita Nyong’o, just sayin.

source: Warner Bros. Pictures

Cujo (1983)

Okay, no secret- I love Stephen King. While Cujo might not be the best adaptation of his work (certainly far from the worst) this protective mama is as badass as they come. The always amazing Dee Wallace (here’s your reminder, just in case, watch E.T too) will do anything to protect her child. Give it a watch, and just remember: the dog isn’t real, because they would never do such a horrendous thing. 🙂

Available to stream on AMC+

source: Universal Pictures

People Under the Stairs (1991)

This might seem unexpected, but Wes Craven’s film, which seems to be divisive among most, has one mommy you wouldn’t want to run into (let alone rob from and then get stuck in their twisted house of horror). Wendy Robie plays “Woman” and she’s adequately terrifying throughout this horror/comedy/ outright absurd, film.

Unfortunately, this isn’t currently streaming. Want to borrow my Blu ray? 🙂

source: Entertainment One, Umbrella Entertainment

The Babadook (2015)

Essie Davis plays Amelia, another protective mother, hoping to keep her son away from Mister Babadook. It’s a wonderful, inventive horror with a terrific cast. Creepy? Yes. Awesome? Also yes! Bonus Points. Watch if you dare (just watch it).

Available to stream on AMC+ and DirectV

source: Warner Bros

The Exorcist (1973)

It’s tough to deal with life when your daughter has her head spinning and crawls on the ceiling, but you can say, Ellen Burstyn did her best. Burstyn is incredible, as she grounds this horror in reality, making her performance as a mother concerned, really hit home. Also… Classic!

Available to stream on showtime and Fubo tv.

Also see Mama, Serial Mom, Get Out, Rosemary’s Baby, Carrie, Goodnight Mommy, Friday the 13th, Mommie Dearest, House of 1000 Corpses, Okay, there are a lot! Not to mention— Psycho 😉, Dead Alive, Scream 2, The Others, The Conjuring.

While it’s not exactly a horror, I’d also like to give Terminator 2 a shoutout. And the Queen in Aliens- that bitch is protective. (I have a hard time stopping).

source: 20th Century Fox

Have fun watching! Happy Mother’s Day!

What are some of your favorites? Let me know!

Weekly Watch Recs 4/25-5/2

There is so much content out there! Any ideas?

I won’t regale you with some of the total misfires I experienced this week when watching new content (though one will get its own review this weekend), but I will give a some suggestions!

The Mitchells vs The Machines

source: Netflix

Technology takes over the world and while on a bonding family road trip The Mitchells become unexpected heroes.

The animation is terrific and there are wonderful themes about family, technology, and… MOVIES. 😍 Who doesn’t love a animated tale with equal shares of laugh out loud moments and heart? It may be because I share a real kinship with the lead character, but this was a delightful experience.

You’ll have feels after.

Special shoutouts to all the film references, the Furby throwback, Doug the Pug, Journey album covers and The Shining socks.

Streaming on Netflix

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4

source: Hulu

If you’re a fan and you’ve managed to hang on this long I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, but you should watch the newest! I have had *thoughts* on whether or not we need more of this show, and depending on where this goes, I’ll have more. Until then..

While this is a gloomy viewing experience, there are some emotional reunions that really hit home, and some shifts in environment and direction that provides new life. As always, amazingly acted, beautifully shot.

But prepare your emotions accordingly.

Streaming on Hulu with new episodes every Wednesday.

source: Netflix

Bonus: For some strange reason I was late to the game on this one, but I finally watched The Old Guard (on Netflix) and loved it! I would definitely recommend watching Charlize Theron kick ass, any day of the week.

Have you watched these? Let me know your thoughts!