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James Wan
Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young
Writing Credits:
Akela Cooper

Madison is paralyzed by shocking visions of grisly murders, and her torment worsens as she discovers that these waking dreams are in fact terrifying realities.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Dolby 5.1
English Descriptive Audio (US)
English Descriptive Audio (UK)
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
Hindi Dolby 5.1
Tamil Dolby 5.1
Telugu Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 111 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 11/30/2021

• “James Wan’s Visions” Featurette


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Malignant [Blu-Ray] (2021)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 1, 2021)

Director James Wan made his name with horror films such as 2004’s Saw, 2010’s Insidious and 2013’s The Conjuring. He veered away for projects like 2015’s Furious 7 and 2018’s Aquaman - with 2016’s Conjuring 2 in between – but he returned with his first new horror property in eight years via 2021’s Malignant.

Pregnant Madison Mitchell (Annabelle Wallis) suffers a double loss when a mystery force kills her husband Derek (Jake Abel) and attacks her as well, an act that causes a miscarriage. After this event, Madison starts to see visions of murders.

As the bodies pile up, the Seattle police suspect Madison. However, she claims innocence and blames the deaths on “Gabriel”, a supposedly imaginary friend from her youth.

I admit that Wan’s overall filmography does little for me. His pairs of Conjuring and Insidious movies seem decent but no better, and Aquaman only sporadically works for me. Furious 7 remains probably the best of the franchise, but that stems more from the mediocrity of the other flicks than due to the movie’s strengths.

Given my less the fruitful history with Wan’s productions, I can’t claim I went into Malignant with high hopes. Actually, I entered the film as a virtual blank slate, as beyond my knowledge of Wan’s involvement and its place as a horror tale, I knew nothing about what to expect.

In theory, that made Malignant a more interesting screening than it might’ve been if I’d been aware of the plot or I’d seen trailers. However, even with the whole flick as a fresh experience, I found myself disenchanted.

Essentially Malignant delivers about 80 minutes of tedious exposition and clichés before it becomes wholly absurd. With a mix of plot twists, it becomes difficult to discuss the film and avoid spoilers, but suffice it to say that the movie takes some real turns in its final act.

While these don’t seem out of nowhere in terms of development, they do come across as wholly ludicrous, and they ensure that the last half-hour or so of Malignant becomes literally laughable. Honestly, this portion of the film feels disconnected from the rest, so the shifts in tone don’t fit well.

If the final act proved less idiotic, I wouldn’t mind this, but the last third seems so silly that it ruins everything else that came before it – or it would spoil the flick if the first two segments didn’t feel so tedious. Malignant pours on scads of dull exposition and tiresome jump scares as it works toward its Big Twists.

This leaves the impression that Wan figured he didn’t need to give the audience much of interest because he thought the finale would bowl over viewers. For some folks, this may prove true – they may get so caught up in the last half-hour’s insanity that they forget the boredom of the first 80 minutes.

Because I think the ending proves so goofy, that doesn’t happen for me. Nothing about the finish forgives the tedium of the initial 80 minutes, and the whole thing winds up on a sour note.

I get that horror movies often – and perhaps usually - pursue ludicrous stories and twists. Heck, most genre entries rely on character stupidity to succeed, so one must generally take that grain of salt to enjoy these flicks.

Unfortunately, nothing about Malignant makes it worth the immense suspension of disbelief it requires. Boring until it becomes stupid, the movie wastes 111 minutes of screen time.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus D+

Malignant appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a strong visual presentation.

At all times, sharpness seemed very good. Any instances of softness remained negligible, as the film appeared accurate and concise.

Jagged edges and moiré effects didn’t mar the presentation, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to appear.

We got the usual slant toward amber and teal here, but the image tossed out some rich reds and sickly greens as well. Within stylistic choices, the hues seemed well-depicted.

Blacks were dark and dense, and low-light shots gave us good clarity. I felt pleased with this impressive transfer.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio, it offered a fairly typical horror movie soundscape. This meant a lot of creepy atmosphere and occasional “jolt moments”.

Along with good stereo music, the soundfield was able to open things up in a satisfying manner that embellished the story. The mix didn’t dazzle, but it worked fine.

Audio quality was always good. Music appeared full and rich, while effects demonstrated nice clarity and accuracy.

Speech was natural and distinctive throughout the film. Again, this wasn’t a heavily active track, but it made sense for the story, and it kicked into gear well when necessary.

A featurette called James Wan’s Visions runs 14 minutes, 11 seconds and offers notes from director James Wan, actor/story writer Ingrid Bisu, screenwriter Akela Cooper, head mechanical designer Mark Setrakian, contortionists Troy James and Marina Mazepa, stunt coordinator Glenn Foster, and actors Annabelle Wallis, Michole Briana White, George Young, Maddie Hasson and Zoë Bell.

“Visions” covers the project’s origins and development, story/characters, cast and performances, various effects, photography and action. “Visions” becomes a decent overview, but it feels too short and superficial to tell us much.

James Wan returns to his horror roots with a thud, as Malignant becomes a pretty awful genre effort. Two acts of dull exposition followed by one act of ludicrous action means we wind up with a consistently problematic film. The Blu-ray offers solid picture and audio along with a minor featurette. Not much about this movie works.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
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