Mesa Legend
Among the final girls of horror films, Annabelle Wallis' Madison falls flat and unlikable. (Courtesy of Warner Bros.)

James Wan’s ‘Malignant’ just isn’t that scary

The new James Wan film is truly an original concept that was just too difficult to pull off on the big screen. The outside-of-the-box “Malignant” leaves little horror, focusing instead on gore and average special effects. The film centers on a lonely woman who is terrorized by scary visions and a terrifying memory long forgotten.

Madison, a pregnant woman abused by her husband, is left a widow after an unexplainable home invasion. She starts having episodes where she becomes paralyzed, and then the room around her changes to an unknown place, where she sees a mysterious, long-coated figure brutally murdering a stranger.

Madison and her younger sister Sydney try to convince the cops investigating her husband’s death of the murders in Madison’s visions. One of the cops thinks she is guilty and is the murderer, but the other cop isn’t so sure.

Madison is tormented by this entity that induces violent sleep paralysis visions. The only thing she ultimately is able to remember is someone dangerous from her past named Gabriel. She realizes the murderer is Gabriel, and he is trying to frame her.

The detectives eventually have no other option but to put Madison in jail. After finding out Madison was adopted from this mysterious hospital, Sydney looks for Madison’s records to find out what happened in Madison’s past and prove her innocence.

The concept was interesting but it ended up ridiculous and over the top. The more it went on, the more predictable it became. It had a few decent jump-scares and suspenseful moments, but they decreased the more we learned the truth about the monster.

Plus, the lack of explanation of the main villain led to plot holes that were never answered. The supernatural elements of the villain made him scary, but they also didn’t make sense with the final explanation of who and what Gabriel is.
The thing with horror movies is there is usually always a final girl, and the final girl in this film was so boring and forgettable that I didn’t care whether she survived or not. James Wan is known for his strong characters and interesting storytelling, but the character of Madison is unlikeable and over-acted by Annabelle Wallis.

Every aspect seemed over the top and outlandish to the point where it was never scary. The crazy freakout moments made me laugh more than sit on the edge of my seat.

It’s just not one of James Wan’s best horror films. “Malignant” is now in theaters and is streaming on HBOMax.