Warner Bros. Pictures

Madison (played by Annabelle Wallis) is haunted by a mysterious figure in “Malignant.”

By Adam Graham

The Detroit News

Gory, inventive and delightfully ludicrous, “Malignant” is a surprisingly fun blood-splattered thrill ride that keeps taking new and twisty turns.

Director James Wan, the “Saw” writer and director who also started the “Insidious” and “Conjuring” franchises, returns to his B-movie roots here with the story of a woman who is haunted by grisly visions. The reason for those visions is a late-in-the-film revelation that turns the film on its ear and will have horror fans howling with delight in all the right ways.

Annabelle Wallis (“Annabelle”) plays Maddie Mitchell, who was adopted as a child and has always yearned for a blood connection to family. She’s pregnant when the movie opens, and loses her baby after her abusive boyfriend sends her to the hospital. (Don’t worry, he pays.)

In flashback we visit a research hospital in 1993, where doctors are trying to control an out-of-control monster who speaks through tech devices like old radios in a horrifying, electro-pitched scowl. In modern-day Seattle, this creature — clad in all black and with long black hair covering its face, like a Norwegian Black Metal boogeyman — is on a rampage against those docs, using a sword fashioned out of a trophy awarded for excellence in surgery. Talk about personal.

Just as Akela Cooper’s script begins to grow tedious, everything comes together and goes gleefully over-the-top. Wan, untethered and having a blast, uses all sorts of funhouse tricks with his camera, giving “Malignant” the feel of a ghoulish merry-go-round. By the time it stops, you’ll be ready to take another spin.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.