Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Big Clue Everyone Missed Early In Malignant

"Malignant" is one of those horror movies where, at the heart of it, there is a mystery to be unraveled — who is Gabriel and what is his actual connection to Maddison Mitchell (Annabelle Wallis)? And much in the way of an M. Night Shyamalan film, director James Wan and "Malignant" find the answer to the story's mystery through an absolutely off-the-wall plot twist. Spoilers ahead for the ending of "Malignant."

"Upon first viewing, what we know of Madison and Gabriel's relationship is that Gabriel seems to have the psychic ability to show Maddison the murders he's committing as they happen. And as we get further and further into the story, it becomes clear that Gabriel and Maddie are related somehow, but were separated after a stay in a hospital.

Eventually, we find out the truth — Gabriel is Madison's twin/malignant tumor. And from the very moment what remains of him cracks through the back of Madison's skull, takes control of her body, and starts killing before our very eyes, the way we see every moment that comes before transforms completely.

If you go back and rewatch "Malignant," you'll discover that the story's twist is very carefully revealed in the opening scene of the film — in fact it's so well-hidden that you likely didn't catch it on your first (or even your second) viewing.

Gabriel is very attached to Madison from the start

There are a lot of hints throughout "Malignant" as to the quite literal connection between Madison and Gabriel, perhaps none more so than the repeated orchestral use of the Pixies song "Where is My Mind" — a clear shout-out to "Fight Club" a.k.a. the movie where Edward Norton and Brad Pitt turn out to be the same person.

But there are other moments, too, which, in retrospect, are pretty big tells. The very fact that Gabriel is able to show Madison all those deaths suggests that they may be sharing a body. In hindsight the perpetually reopening head wound Derek (Jake Abel) gives Madison early on in the film even goes so far as to suggest where Gabriel is hiding out. And that's nothing to speak of Madison's very voluminous hair capable of hiding just about anything — honestly, we should have seen it coming!

However, even before Annabelle Wallis appears on screen, the proverbial ghost is given up in the flashback sequence set in the hospital. "You can see Gabriel somewhat in the start and attached to a body, so that kinda gave it away for me," writes reddit user KumaTenshi.

If you haven't gone back for a "Malignant" rewatch (while you no doubt pondered the possibility of a sequel), let us assure you that, while that opening sequence is quite dark, you can see that Gabriel is attached to the back of another, more fully-formed person. In theory, if you are a super eagle-eyed movie-watcher who has seen a lot of gonzo horror movies, you could conclude that when Dr. Florence Weaver (Jacqueline McKenzie) says the iconic line, "It's time we cut out the cancer," she is talking about Gabriel himself.

"Malignant" is in theaters and streaming through HBO Max now.