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United States, China · 2021
1h 52m
Director James Wan
Starring Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young, Michole Briana White
Genre Horror, Mystery, Thriller

In this twisty horror film from director James Wan, a woman named Madison finds herself suffering from terrifying dreams of brutal killings after the murder of her abusive husband. When she finds that these murders are really occurring, she must discover the true nature of her relationship with the killer.

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What are people saying?

What are critics saying?


San Francisco Chronicle by

The film has a fairly clever and original premise — one that’s better left unspoiled as a third act reveal. But the path to it is bizarre and beguiling with too many moments that feel like an episode of “CSI” or “Without a Trace” with much better cinematography and worse dialogue. It kind of makes you wonder what the hell Wan was doing here.


Variety by Andrew Barker

It’s hard to say whether a film this bonkers “works” or not, but it’s impossible not to admire both the craft and the extravagant bad taste behind its go-for-broke energy.


The Guardian by Charles Bramesco

If only they’d put fuller faith in the true nature of their premise, and leaned all the way into the kookier side of body horror. Instead of trying for the sophistication of Cronenberg and coming up short, they’d be better off embracing the near-absurdity of lower-rent cult objects like Basket Case from the start.


Slashfilm by Chris Evangelista

The lack of true scares may be a deal-breaker for some. And indeed, the overall outlandishness at work on the screen is going to flat-out annoy certain viewers. But then there will be those who revel in the audacity of Malignant, and boy oh boy are those folks in for a treat. This isn't even close to being James Wan's best horror movie, but cripes, it sure is a lot of fun.


The Hollywood Reporter by Frank Scheck

The film might have been outrageously bizarre fun if it displayed any humor or ironic self-consciousness, but everything is played so straight that viewers will find themselves laughing not with the film but at it. The characterizations are paper-thin, the dialogue is perfunctory, and the performances are, to put it charitably, adequate at best.


Empire by Hanna Flint

There’s a hodge-podge of ideas going on that don’t always seamlessly fit, but Wan’s homage to ’80s horror and Wallis’s fretful performance, has a bloody lot of guts.


IndieWire by Jude Dry

A humorless melodrama about a woman haunted by her past, Malignant sits somewhere between a slasher, a ghost story, and a possession flick, never fully embracing either. The result is a confusing melange of genre archetypes that lacks a clear point of view, even a surface-level stylistic one.


The Associated Press by Lindsey Bahr

Malignant at least has originality going for it. It’s also a thanklessly humorless and offensively sadistic film that fails to capture any sort of authentic emotion or make any meaningful statements about trauma.


TheWrap by William Bibbiani

Malignant might not hold up to scrutiny but by the time all its mysteries are revealed, it’s clear that it was never supposed to. It’s an absurdly entertaining frightfest with a heavy emphasis on the absurd, and thank heaven — or hell — for it.

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