Sean’s review published on Letterboxd:
Kind of mixed on James Wan overall. Probably a hot take but I find his horror films to be significantly weaker than his two action franchise films. Both of these phases of Wan’s career kind of merge in Malignant, the most illogical, bizarre, and astonishingly batshit mainstream horror films I’ve seen in a while. Starts off rather conventional, and rather dull, but once some of the kills start and the 3rd act reveal comes into play this really picks up. And that reveal, wow what the fuck. I totally thought I knew what it would be based on the information the film was giving me and then it does a complete 180 (pun unintentional… no spoilers here) and it changes the course of the film for the better.
All throughout, James Wan’s sensibilities remain firmly intact, for better and for worse. The weird synth-esque music choices are here and the frenetic camera movements are back too (which are much more coherent and less vertigo inducing here than they have been in other films but still chill the fuck out James). It’s also his goriest film, completely relentless in its violence, especially by the 3rd act. There is a lot of creativity, and the shot compositions, angles, and framing here are wild and genuinely fascinating to watch. None of that stops the first two acts from being a snooze, though. It’s lazily written and performed (the exception, for the most part, being Annabelle Wallis, an actress I feel is criminally underrated for her work in Peaky Blinders even though she hasn’t done too much work in films) and really relies on concept and generally solid execution to stay interesting. Which works! Kind of! I wish I liked it more, but I still enjoyed myself and am really happy it turned so hard by the 3rd act because otherwise this would have been a much worse film.