Australian director and screen-writer James Wan's latest horror movie 'Malignant' consists of the kind of thrill you will enjoy at the theatre. But as the film progresses, mainstream elements overlap the thrill factor and lose the potential to grip the audiences.
Director James Wan is famous for cult favourite horror films such as 'The Conjuring', 'Insidious: Chapter 2' and 'The Conjuring 2'. In comparison to the success of these films, 'Malignant' does not entirely meet expectations.
The film starts with scenes set in 1993. Viewers first get introduced to Dr Weaver, who is recording a video during one of his sessions with his patients, Gabriel.
The following scenes take a sneak-peek into the kind of thrill one can expect from a horror film. The feeling is eerily similar to that of watching 'Stranger Things'.
Fast forward to the present, a pregnant Madison (Annabelle Walls) returns from work. It is evident from the interaction she has with her husband Derek (Jake Abel) that their marriage is at a breaking point.
There is an unwanted conversation between the two. Derek pushes Madison's head into the wall following the argument where he reminds Madison of her previous miscarriages. Madison's immediate need to lock herself in the room reveals her natural distrust towards her abusive partner.
The sinister shift in the atmosphere of the film after that scene is quite remarkable, almost making you crack the plot wondering if Madison has some superpower that perhaps gets unleashed after she was attacked.
The succeeding scenes from the same night include amazing cinematography that brings adequate suspense. The film plays around with lights, highlighting the presence of the thrilling entity.
Madison comes face to face with it after finding her husband bent at the neck, dead on the living room floor.
A while later, the creepy, crawling and distorted dark figure of Gabriel appears, who will keep you on the edge but only till you figure out the plot.
From then onwards, you see Madison suffering in pain for having lost her baby. She suffers from loneliness and desires to have someone she can call her own. But she has a baffling connection with Gabriel through which she witnesses the gruesome murders he committed even though she is not physically present with him, leaving her as the prime murder suspect.
One of the supporting characters, Sydney (Maddie Hasson), Madison's sister, sets off to prove her sister's innocence, finding out the main reason behind Madison's connection with Gabriel.
However, Maddie's role as a supporting character is sentimental and sweet, as well as detective Kekoa's role that is played by George Young.
Storywise, the gruesome and disturbing revelation is quite interesting. But the presentation ends up being mainstream. It will leave you predicting the next movement of the characters, eventually making the film less interesting. However, the thrills and psychologically disturbing elements will push you to continue watching.
The last moments of the film are quite unnatural even in terms of Malignant's unique plot.
James Wan has displayed a different kind of story in 'Malignant' that sits as a psychological-thriller movie but not horror. And unfortunately, there is an unnecessary stretch in scenes and issues that you can foresee knowing how most horror films end.
This film could have been structured better. It is a missed opportunity with a distinctive and captivating story that lacks a better climactic ending.
'Malignant' is now being shown at all branches of Star Cineplex except for SKS Tower, Mohakhali.