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Here's What The Critics Are Saying About James Wan's Malignant

Director James Wan has cemented himself as a modern master of the horror genre ever since he first impressed studios and audiences with the "Saw" franchise back in 2003. With every horror film he helms, Wan finds a way of chilling audiences by putting them in the victim's position. It works brilliantly with "Saw," since the grim idea of being forced into a trap is inescapable when watching any movie in the series. But when he moved onto "Insidious" in 2010 and "The Conjuring" in 2013, the director terrified audiences in new ways with ghosts, demons, and spirits.

This is all to say that James Wan clearly has a flair for the terrifying, and he's back with another scary story in "Malignant." It's a project he's been working on since he finished on 2018's "Aquaman," as he recently told SciFiNow: "I thought, why not go back and do a down and dirty, pretty shocking little thriller as something to buffer me?"

It follows Madison (Annabelle Wallis) who realizes that her horrifying dreams of brutal attacks and killings are actually happening in real life, and that she has a bizarre connection to the entity behind it all. The first "Malignant" trailer teased some seriously creepy shenanigans in the film, as the culprit, "Gabriel," may or may not be Madison's childhood imaginary friend. Thankfully, the first reviews for the film have finally made their way online, so here's what the critics are saying about "Malignant."

It's either painfully average or bloodily brilliant

"Malignant" is currently getting mixed reviews from critics, who are torn on whether the film is one of the best titles of 2021 or if it's a poorly written scare-fest. The Hollywood Reporter's Frank Scheck notes that things start off well in the film, saying "For a while 'Malignant' works fairly well as a creepy, if slow-moving, thriller, tinged with supernatural elements rendered with visually striking CGI effects." He adds, however, that as time goes by, the story's quality takes a nosedive. "But as more of the jaw-dropping, outlandish scenario is revealed, the sillier and more frenetic the proceedings become, devolving into a series of ludicrous chases and extremely gory fight sequences"

It's a sentiment echoed by IndieWire's Jude Dry, who says the film doesn't know what it wants to be, explaining that it "sits somewhere between a slasher, a ghost story, and a possession flick, never fully embracing any of those different spins on the horror formula." The critic also called it "humorless." But CinemaBlend's Eric Eisenberg was a little more impressed by "Malignant," saying "It's an extreme experience that only Wan could provide, and easily one of the best scary movies of 2021." He also praised Marina Mezepa as Gabriel, adding "he is just hypnotizing to watch in his startling physicality."

And finally, Forbes' Scott Mendelson also spoke highly of the movie, calling it his pick "for the best major studio/wide release theatrical horror movie of 2021." He also says the James Wan film "knows it's silly and dares you to take it too seriously," later calling it "spectacularly goofy and unapologetically over-the-top." You may just have to make your own mind up on this one...