Why Malignant Is So Divisive (But Not Its Ending) | Screen Rant

James Wan’s Malignant has been a divisive film among audiences and critics alike, with most either falling on the love it or hate side, though the third act twist and excitement thereafter seem to have universal approval. Malignant is the new horror film from director James Wan, who is notable for starting Saw, The Conjuring, and Insidious - three of the most iconic horror franchises in recent years. With the stark divisiveness among Malignant’s reception, some are calling it the most bizarre follow-up to a director having most recently made a $1 billion movie, referencing Wan’s 2018 DCEU film Aquaman.

Malignant tells the sinister story of a young woman, Madison Lake, who begins to have terrifying visions where she sees people being murdered, only to find out the killings actually happened. All the while, Madison is being tormented by a figure from her past named Gabriel, whose true nature is kept hidden for most of the film. With help from her sister Sydney and Seattle PD Detective Kekoa Shaw, Madison is able to uncover what Gabriel really is, but not before he continues to wreak havoc on the city.

Related: Every James Wan Movie, Ranked Worst To Best (Including Malignant)

Coming from one of the most exciting directors in Hollywood, Malignant was a highly anticipated new horror film, though audiences and critics alike are divided with polar opposite reactions. For those who left the film with a positive reflection, the consensus is that James Wan's Malignant is going beyond the boundaries of conventional horror, using audience expectations and crafting the beloved twists and turns that are bound to cement it as a horror cult classic. Even for those who liked it but weren’t analyzing its genre significance, many walked away believing it was a blast, reminiscent of the classic horror B-movies that were also quite divisive in their days. On the other hand, some critics and audience members have described Malignant as an underwhelming, over-produced film with a lack of character development or substance in the plot.

Most disappointed critics can still see the merit of Wan’s horror movie return while disliking the execution, whereas audiences are quite decisively polarized. As Rotten Tomatoes’ consensus states, “Love it or hate it - and there isn't much in between - Malignant is one horror movie that takes risks and is willing to get weird.” Malignant is definitely not the type of horror flick one expects of Wan’s recent efforts, where there is hardly any jump scares or possessions taking place. Malignant’s gruesomely bloody sensational twists are far more reminiscent of what made Saw terrifying. What may have turned off some audiences is that Malignant isn’t traditionally scary, it’s more of a gory, WTF-type of horror that doesn’t appeal to everyone’s tastes. While some see Malignant as James Wan breaking down barriers and introducing a thrilling reconstruction of modern Hollwyood horror, others couldn’t get past the movie's slow build and underdeveloped characters.

Although the movie as a whole isn’t universally well-received, nearly all agree that Malignant’s third act twist and the final portion of the movie is a rollercoaster ride of bizarre excitement. Whether someone is laughing at it because of its insane ridiculousness, jaw-dropped for the last 30 minutes, or enthralled by the horrific action, there’s no escaping the joy of watching Malignant’s bonkers final act. Even for those who didn’t particularly like the movie, they’ll admit the final act was a fun, wild ride, they just don’t believe it made up for the lack of substance in Malignant’s overall plot. Going into Malignant blind might be the best way to enjoy the film—no one will expect the memorable ending that James Wan crafts to lock viewers in.

Next: Malignant And Last Night In Soho Are Heading Up A Giallo Revival

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