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Malignant: Director James Wan Will Always Love HorrorheroImage

Malignant: Director James Wan Will Always Love Horror

7/21/2021 • 4 min read

It seems like James Wan will never walk away from horror, and the movie world is better for it. After creating two of the most significant genre series of the past 20 years — SAW and THE CONJURING — Wan has spent his directorial cred on passion projects (DEATH SENTENCE) and blockbusters (FURIOUS 7 and AQUAMAN). But he always comes back to horror.

It’s hard to overstate the influence James Wan has on the cinematic landscape. Now, he’s about to unleash a horrific new vision, MALIGNANT, even as he works on the sequel to AQUAMAN. With this horror movie, instead of going for wild death traps or pesky ghosts, Wan appears to be offering us his take on the slasher formula. Here's what MALIGNANT is all about.

Watch the Malignant Trailer - But Prepare Yourself First!

In MALIGNANT, Annabelle Wallis stars as Madison, who experiences vivid violent visions — and who realizes that the visions are actually happening out in the real world. Even worse they seem to be tied to Gabriel, a demon which tormented Madison as a child. Madison begins to believe the new murders are a way for Gabriel to get closer to her. 

What is the nature of this villain, and why is he killing everyone? We’ll have to see the film to find out!

Malignant: Director James Wan Will Always Love Horror Section3Image

Back to the Beginning

Often, when directors earn blockbuster success, they never go back to smaller movies akin to their earliest efforts. James Wan is different. While he certainly has been in charge of giant movies, he always finds time to return to his first love: horror. MALIGNANT is just the latest example.

The film isn’t about huge visual effects or a cast of famous actors. It’s all about the scares. This time, the shocking scenes are focused on a murder spree, and the effect that has on Madison. This is a return to form for Wan, because it is a very contained horror movie, but it is also a departure from the types of horror stories he usually directs. In many ways, MALIGNANT looks like it is Wan's spin on a slasher movie.

In fact, we're eager to see not only this movie, but what happens afterward. Wan’s films always influence other filmmakers. SAW kicked off a craze of "trap" movies. THE CONJURING and INSIDIOUS films brought about a ton of ghost movies. Perhaps MALIGNANT will drive a resurgence of R-rated slasher movies.

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A Strong Personal Style

Whether he’s directing AQUAMAN or a CONJURING film, James Wan has a strong directorial style. It’s all there in the MALIGNANT trailer: Intense close-ups, sudden zooms and circling dolly shots. Wan likes to build tension with long, steady wide shots and characters who flicker in and out of shadow and light. Sometimes weird beings you can just barely see are hidden in the frame.

Wan is a master at building tension as a way to pull audiences into his movies. It’s great to see that his excitement for horror has not been changed by big-budget filmmaking. Wan is still a horror lover at heart, and that’s a very good thing indeed.

 

MALIGNANT opens on September 10!

 

All images courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

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