Malignant ★★★

One of the first movies in a while that I've really struggled to cement my feelings on. When this started off, I was really turned off by what felt like amateurish editing, cheap jump-scares, and a soap opera-level plot about miscarriages. But then I decided to treat this like any horror/slasher of the 80s, a la an entry in the Friday the 13th series--campy, schlocky, but occasionally fun.

And that helped me to realign my expectations a bit. This was not going to be an elevated horror film from A24 or Eggers or even Aster. This is akin to the monster movies of decades ago, when powers were inexplicable, but kills were brutal. And in a lot of ways, Malignant checked those boxes.

But then I remembered that I didn't really like a lot of those Jason Voorhees movies. The performances were overwrought, the effects were hit-or-miss, and there was a discernable lack of logic in character motivations. I like coherence in my stories, and those early slashers had little of that.

Malignant is an elevated Jason movie. There are nonsensical characters (those detectives are dumb as hell), outlandish cuts and angles and lighting, and insane kills. The kill sequences are actually quite impressive to watch, way more than simple machete-to-the-head murders. So in a lot of ways, the parts of a Friday the 13th movie that I enjoyed I also enjoy here. The special effects, the gore, the fiendish action. But I also dislike the same things, too--the campiness, the illogic, the peculiarities of the entire plot.

So I really liked parts of this movie. But damn do I loathe it, too.

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