The 311th review!
Welcome back to the most wonderful time of the year! For those of you who are new here, I am Mr. Pat, and this is Mr. Pat's 31 Days of October. For the past 11 years I have watched and reviewed a horror, or horror-adjacent, movie for every day in October. Seeing as how it's October 1st, I like to kick off my yearly tradition with something big. So today, how about we check out...
I'm going to do something a little different with this review. I'm only going to use pictures that were used in the trailer, because whooo boy this movie gets wild and trust me, you don't want it spoiled.
Before I begin I need to say something. At one point a detective finds a picture of a little girl and it has the date 1990 written on the back. He goes to one of his technicians and asks him to age the girl up, the tech asks how many years, and he says 30! 1990 was 31 years ago... That has nothing to do with the movie, just me always having difficulty coming to terms with how long ago that really was... Anyways, the movie opens with a doctor talking to a video camera and suddenly all hell breaks loose. There are lights flickering, inhuman screams, and a whole lot of murder. At this point, Malignant has my full attention.
We fast forward to the present day and we meet a couple, a pregnant woman and her despicable husband. He's not long for this world and it's so obvious he should be wearing a red shirt. That night, after he meets his end, his wife is attacked and in a truly heartbreaking scene, she loses her baby.
But that's not the end of her problems because soon she starts getting visions of more murders this man is doing and a couple detectives and her sister are dragged into this dangerous game as they piece together the murders and how everything connects.
That's all the plot I feel comfortable giving away, because if what I just described sounds weird it goes absolutely full throttle once it does its big reveal. The big twist is pretty great and I had to pick my jaw up off the floor from the action sequence that follows.
Everything I heard about this film talked about the strangeness of this movie and I can see it potentially being a turn off, but I loved it. The movie took a balls-to-the-wall approach and the sheer insanity and unbelievability of the story absolutely works. Like they explain how the monster got its powers with one sentence and it's so ridiculous that you just can't help but love it.
There are genuinely scary moments and the monster is really cool. It has the right mix of grotesque, scary powers, and its manner of moving and communicating is really unnerving. I don't usually comment on the way movies are shot because it's never something that I really notice, but this movie does a lot of neat tricks with the camera to show different perspectives. It had a scene where our protagonist, Madison, is running from the baddie and it's shot from above looking down. As she's dashing from room to room it looks just like a mouse in a maze. Another mark in the the movie's favor are transition scenes where she's witnessing the murders. One in particular is really clever and the way the world melts away is a cool effect.
The leads are very good, I liked their chemistry and was rooting for them to survive. I also have to admit, I really liked the ending as well. It was well done and satisfying while leaving the door open to potentially revisit these characters in the future.
James Wan's return to horror isn't his scariest movie, but it's definitely his wildest ride.
9.5 Dr. Chainsaws!
1 HR 51 MIN
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.
Cast & Crew Madison Mitchell, Annabelle Wallis, Sydney Lake, Maddie Hasson, Kekoa Shaw, George Young, Regina Moss, Michole Briana White, Florence Weaver, Jacqueline McKenzie, Derek Mitchell, Jake Abel, Winnie, Ingrid Bisu
Producers James Wan, Michael Clear
Directors James Wan
Writers Screenplay - Akela Cooper; Story By - James Wan, Ingrid Bisu, Akela Cooper