andrew 🦇’s review published on Letterboxd:
James Wan has always been hit or miss for me (Saw and Insidious are two of my favorites, while I am not a fan of The Conjuring series at all), so I didn't go into this with high expectations, especially because the trailer looked pretty generic and didn't give off the giallo vibes that Wan was hyping up.
For the first hour or so, my rating was teetering between 2.5 and 3 stars. It was fine, there was some really cool cinematography (that only sometimes felt giallo-esque), but it was as generic as the trailer made it look and the CGI-heavy kills were kinda dissapointing. But then... Holy shit.
Malignant has one of the most batshit insane third acts I've ever seen. It commits to the bit so fucking hard. There is no way this would have gotten made with as big a budget as it did if it wasn't directed by someone with as much clout as James Wan. It's absolutley ridiculous in a way that so many giallo movies are, but the real homage here is to something else entirely (it would be a crime to openly spoil what movie's plot Malignant is really so indebted to in this review, so just click here if you wanna know.)
The third act is so well-executed and fun, with perfectly timed reveals and skillfully choreographed action set-pieces. It's a perfect mix of incredibly disgusting and incredibly silly that really comes out of nowhere (the closest thing to a hint we get is the title of a certain Pixies song that's melody is interpolated as a reoccurring motif in the film's score).
While there's a leather-gloved killer with a cool knife, weird close ups, and a bit of red lighting (nowhere near enough though), the main giallo influence is in how much fun this is while playing it straight at the same time. There's some stilted dialogue and not great acting sometimes too, but I'll just pretend that was intentional.
Really, what I'm trying to say here is the generic looking trailers are not at all representative of what Malignant really is. It might start that way, but it ends up going so far beyond that and becomes something incredibly fun.