There’s a certain approach, a certain, shall we say, subtlety one expects of a specific type of movie, what we can call the INSIDIOUS approach, the kind seen in the THE CONJURING movies and the like. The supernatural threat is understated and creeping, slowly rising, often overlooked by any characters on the outside, perceived only by the protagonist(s), and by extension the audience. “The house isn’t *really* haunted. It’s all in your imagination.” That is the kind of movie I was expecting when I bought my ticket to see MALIGNANT. Instead it is anything *but*. MALIGNANT is gonzo, balls-out, in your face, relentless, more akin to EVIL DEAD than those other films I mentioned. And it is magnificent.
I think of the original JEEPERS CREEPERS, where the characters do everything right. They call the cops. And then the cops all die. As has been said, when the characters do everything right and *still* die, that’s effective Horror. Gabriel is an instant icon, worthy to take his place alongside the likes of Jason, Freddy, and Michael, unstoppable and relentless, a supernatural Terminator who, like the best villains, also manages to garner the audience’s sympathy.
I cannot praise this movie enough. What a masterpiece from James Wan. What a great time at the theater.