When it comes to the great films of 2021, there is a multitude of factors to consider. A stunning lead performance could propel a film into perfection such as Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog. An emotional story with a lot of heart could capture your soul like Mike Mills’ C’mon C’mon. Perhaps the outrageous body horror Titane from Julia Ducournau tickled your taste buds this year. From cinematography to direction, there are thousands of reasons why a movie might be considered the best…or your favourite!
Or you could simply throw that all out of the window, and correctly state that James Wan’s Malignant is the best film of the year for sheer audacity and accomplishment.
Starring British actress Annabelle Wallis, Malignant revolves around Maddison, an expectant mother who is trapped in an abusive relationship. After a violent argument, her husband is viciously murdered by an intruder. This is just the start of a series of brutal killings which all seem somehow connected to Maddison. Now she has to delve into her murky past to discover who the murderer is, and why they are targeting her…
James Wan, whose previous outings have included Saw, Aquaman, and The Conjuring, brings his very best with Malignant. There is no denying that Wan doesn’t grab an idea – in this instance, Akela Cooper’s stunning script – and run wild with it. For some, that might not work. After all, Malignant is a cavalcade of brash ideas that needs impeccable direction to balance the frights, the silliness, as well as an emotional arc. Whilst it has some great acting, especially from Wallis, stunning stunt work, and a ghoulish, hammy villain, for Malignant to work, it most definitely needed Wan for this enormous task.
This fantastic film feels as though Wan is at the height of his powers, utilising his body of work and horror expertise to produce an entertaining thrill ride. For example, a chase sequence throughout the underbelly of Seattle is reminiscent of the Saw franchise. It’s great to see that Wan has his own cinematic language and that it furiously roars throughout Malignant in the most excellent way.
Unfortunately, Malignant is the type of movie in which it comes together magnificently in a bloody and boisterous finale. But because you should experience Malignant with as little knowledge as possible, it’s hard to discuss fully why this is a wonderfully warped take on a classic tale. What I can say is that there are phenomenal action sequences, brilliant special effects, and a tremendous ending that has you gagging for more than this twisted bunch.
Malignant is fast and furious, gruesome, and great, bold, and brilliant – a true Wan masterpiece! Oh, and it is, most definitely, one of the best films of the year.
Malignant is out on DVD, Blu-Ray, and Digital Download now.