Malignant ★★★★

There are few mainstream Hollywood filmmakers that I admire as much as James Wan. His career is just slightly younger than I am and in that time nobody has had as widespread of an influence on horror and action as he has, bar potentially M. Night. His films are consistent reminders of what horror should be - a reminder that a world of The Lighthouses and Hereditaries could well take heed of - fun, thrilling, heartfelt, but above all entertaining and easy to watch. Wan’s style is clear, he is one of the most distinctive modern auteurs, and everything else falls by the wayside. Whether it’s Furious 7 or The Conjuring 2, Wan imbues his work with such character that it becomes hard not to like them. 

Malignant is far from his best film. The acting is wooden, the dialogue would make Old-era M. Night proud, but it’s still just fantastic. Perhaps reuniting with Leigh Whannell, Rose Byrne, and Patrick Wilson would have served him better but nevertheless, Wan has made a gnarly, debased film that is a beautiful contrast to his last few brighter movies. The scares scare, the action is incredible (far better than anything Shang-Chi had to offer), and the emotion, though it has nothing on Patrick Wilson playing Elvis songs, works. If I had the time, I would definitely try and catch this film again, and I cannot wait for whatever Wan does next (even if that is a sequel to Aquaman and yet another unnecessary Frankenstein adaptation). The man is an actual genius.

(Also Joseph Bishara’s score is by far my favourite of the year).