TV Review: Only Murders In the Building (2021- )

Original Run: August 31st, 2021 – current
Created by: Steve Martin, John Hoffman
Directed by: various
Written by: various
Music by: Siddhartha Khosla
Cast: Steve Martin, Martin Short, Selena Gomez, Aaron Dominguez, Amy Ryan, Tina Fey, Nathan Lane, Sting, Jane Lynch

Rhode Island Ave. Productions, Another Hoffman Story Productions, 40 Share Productions, 20th Television, Disney Platform Distribution, Hulu, 10 Episodes (so far), 26-35 Minutes (per episode)

Review:

When I first saw the trailer for this, I was pretty excited about checking it out. I love Steve Martin and Martin Short, especially together, and from what I’ve seen of Selena Gomez, I’ve been impressed simply because I only really know of her as an ex-Disney child star and a pop artist.

These three come together wonderfully well, though. Martin and Short being paired up was a no-brainer but adding Gomez to the mix was an x-factor. She did a superb job and I really like this trio and hope to see more from them in season two and hopefully beyond. Hell, round up Chevy Chase and go make a Four Amigos movie.

I thought that the murder mystery plot here was well-crafted and had a good amount of layers and twists like a classic film-noir. I can’t quite consider this noir, tonally, but it is very much inspired by some of the great noir works of yesteryear.

The show is well paced, well acted, has characters you’ll love and gets right down to business from the get go. There aren’t any filler episodes and things move briskly, not wasting time on anything unimportant. Even when a character pops up and it feels like some sort of distraction or the show is getting lost on itself, there is always a reason behind it that helps with the overall payoff.

I like the simple visual style of the show but it could’ve probably used a bit more panache. However, things are overproduced these days, to the point of everything being generic and milquetoast. Luckily, there was enough passion behind this project and within its stars, that it stands out.

My only negative was that I knew who the real killer was almost immediately. Granted, that’s not a bad thing, as the story still surprised me.

All in all, not a bad effort and I hope the second season just adds more to this pretty solid foundation. I feel like it’s a show that can actually improve. It was searching for its footing in the early episodes but found it rather quickly.

Rating: 7.5/10

Film Review: The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf (2021)

Release Date: August 23rd, 2021
Directed by: Kwang Il Han
Written by: Beau DeMayo
Based on: The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski
Music by: Brian D’Oliveira
Cast: Theo James, Lara Pulver, Graham McTavish, Mary McDonnell

Platige Image, Hivemind, Studio Mir, Netflix, 83 Minutes

Review:

“This is the last time I allow any of you to ever hesitate.” – Vesemir

I assumed that after The Witcher show on Netflix did exceptionally well, that they’d milk it for everything it’s worth. While that’s not initially a bad thing, it probably won’t take long for them to water down the IP and make it just another franchise fans get fatigued on.

So the first next Witcher thing is this anime film, which I guess is the first of a series. If they want to keep my interest, they’ll have to do better than this, though.

That’s not to say it was bad, it was just okay. Honestly, it felt like a fairly half-assed effort and even though it focuses on the backstory for Vesemir, Geralt’s father figure, I don’t feel like it really gave anything meaningful to the mythos. Honestly, this felt more like fan fiction and nothing like what Witcher creator Andrzej Sapkowski would have intended.

Granted, the Netflix show takes tremendous liberties and this is just an expansion of that version of the property.

I thought that the character designs were okay but the animation didn’t blow me away. This, like a long line of modern anime by Netflix, is bogged down by a weird mixture of what appears to be traditional animation and CGI. To me, the two never blend together that well and it’s an issue I had with those shitty Netflix Godzilla animes and their original flagship anime series, Knights of Sidonia.

After seeing this, I’m not too enthused about future anime features based on The Witcher. I guess it just depends on what the premise of those future released will be.

Rating: 6.25/10

TV Review: The Ripper (2020)

Original Run: December 16th, 2020
Created by: Netflix
Directed by: Jesse Vile, Ellena Wood
Cast: various

Netflix, 4 Episodes, 60 Minutes (per episode)

Review:

I’ve been going through a weird phase lately where I’ve been binge watching Netflix crime docu-series. This generally isn’t my genre but I like the way that Netflix tells these stories. They’ve developed their own style and it’s both effective and done in a way that keeps you glued to the screen.

This one is about a serial killer that dopey, idiot detectives just assumed was a Jack The Ripper copycat and thus, named him The Ripper. However, many of the victims were later discovered to not be prostitutes and the theories the authorities had were thrown out the window, once it was clear that they were dead wrong and had also been jumping to conclusions based off of their own biases.

Beyond that, this also covers the gender-focused fascism that this part of the UK employed to keep women “safe” based off of completely false assumptions.

There were a lot of interesting layers to this whole story and I thought that the sections of this documentary were well organized and generally well presented. I was also surprised that they covered this pretty thoroughly in just four episodes.

While this isn’t my favorite of these type of Netflix shows, it’s still damn engaging and was a good way to spend four hours in an afternoon sick in bed.

Rating: 7/10

Documentary Review: Closed for Storm (2020)

Also known as: Closed for Storm – The Story of Six Flags New Orleans (complete title)
Release Date: November 7th, 2020 (New Orleans Film Festival)
Directed by: Jake Williams
Written by: Jake Williams
Music by: Matthew Jordan Leeds
Cast: Jake Williams (narrator), various

Bright Sun Films, 78 Minutes, 57 Minutes (festival cut)

Review:

Closed for Storm tells the story of a once great theme park on the edge of New Orleans. It was unfortunately wrecked hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. While it started out as Jazzland in 2000, it was bought by Six Flags and renamed Six Flags New Orleans in 2003.

Six Flags had big plans for the park but once Hurricane Katrina hit the area, priorities in New Orleans, in general, changed.

Additionally, the park was flooded and had incredible damage. Over time, it was looted and vandalized and Six Flags decided to cut their losses. Today, it just sits there, vacant.

This documentary interviews people that were involved with the theme park, those who were regular visitors and those who live in the surrounding community, who were promised a lot from the development of the park but now have an eyesore in their backyards that has had the opposite effect of what was promised to them.

This is also a sad story about the death of a piece of Americana. It reminded me a lot of the recent documentary I watched called Jasper Mall, which told the story of a once busy and successful shopping mall that has, in recent years, just barely been able to stay afloat.

Also, growing up in South Florida, I lived through a similar situation when Hurricane Andrew put the nail in the coffin for Six Flags Atlantis, just north of Miami. It was a place I loved to go to and tried to coerce my dad into taking me a few times per year.

I enjoyed this documentary quite a bit and it does leave you with some hope regarding the defunct park. People keep coming up with plans for the site and it’s probably only a matter of time before a trigger is pulled. Although, it probably won’t become another theme park. Just like Six Flags Atlantis was steamrolled and turned into a shopping center.

Rating: 7/10

TV Review: Elvira’s 40th Anniversary, Very Scary, Very Special, Special. Especially For You! (2021)

Original Run: September 25th, 2021
Created by: Scott D. Marcus
Directed by: Jim Kunz
Written by: Eric Kornfeld
Cast: Cassandra Peterson (as Elvira)

Shudder, 4 Episodes, 80-106 Minutes (per episode)

Review:

For Elvira’s 40th anniversary, she returned for a four episode special on Shudder.

Like the television series that first made her famous and all the other revivals of it, this features her hosting old school horror flicks.

I thought this was a perfect return to form for her and man, she hasn’t lost a step or missed a beat.

Elvira is as entertaining, hilarious and witty as ever and it’s just great seeing her in her element once again, as the woman is by far one of the greatest horror hosts of all-time and beyond that, she’s a national treasure. I mean, who the hell doesn’t love Elvira?

I also enjoyed the four films, even if some of them are far from great. But it’s these kind of movies that helped make her original show what it was and also added the right kind of fuel to her commentary.

My only negative with this special is that it should’ve been bigger. I would’ve loved a dozen or so episodes but I also know how much work goes into these things and honestly, Elvira can do whatever the hell she wants at this point. The fact that she is still game to do these things is a real treat.

Rating: 8/10

TV Review: Squid Game (2021)

Original Run: September 17th, 2021 (all episodes)
Created by: Hwang Dong-hyuk
Directed by: Hwang Dong-hyuk
Written by: Hwang Dong-hyuk
Music by: Jung Jae-il
Cast: Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Wi Ha-joon, Jung Ho-yeon, O Yeong-su, Heo Sung-tae, Anupam Tripathi, Kim Joo-ryoung, Lee Byung-hun

Siren Pictures Inc., Netflix, 9 Episodes, 32-63 Minutes (per episode)

Review:

I couldn’t avoid watching this any longer because of two reasons: the hype and because everyone was talking about it that if I didn’t watch it, the show would’ve been spoiled for me. So, this leapfrogged other shows I had in my queue first because I wanted to see it without it being ruined.

Overall, I did enjoy this but it didn’t blow me away. It’s become a mega-phenomenon almost instantaneously but I found it to be derivative of several things I’ve seen before. And I don’t mean that as a knock but those seeing this as a fresh concept, probably just haven’t watched enough movies.

Hell, in a lot of ways, this is Saw sequel with a much larger group, more appealing surroundings and a cash prize instead of just winning your right to continue living. Then again, that’s also exactly what the prize allows the winner to do, get a fresh chance at life with a new outlook, regardless of how fucked up the journey was.

There’s a big “twist” at the end too, where you discover who is behind this game and why they created it. None of it is all that shocking or surprising and if you’ve digested enough stories similar to this, you can arrive at these answers on your own. It’s honestly, lowest common denominator stuff and I was pretty disappointed in this reveal, as I had hoped the show would’ve thrown a legit curveball, knowing that many probably already thought that this was just a game to entertain the richest people, as the players are just disposable cattle or as the show puts it: race horses being gambled on for kicks.

All that being said, I still mostly enjoyed this because of the characters and their personal stories. Sure, I knew good people would do bad things and that terrible people would be the absolute worst. However, the show does make you care about these people and that’s really the only thing that holds it all together.

In the end, I hope that this stays a miniseries and that Netflix doesn’t try to convince the creator to make more. It’ll just go downhill from here and it’s always best to quit while you’re ahead. But c’mon, man… this is Hollywood. We’re definitely going to get more based off of how this show exploded in popularity, almost immediately.

Rating: 8/10

Film Review: Jungle Cruise (2021)

Release Date: July 24th, 2021 (Anaheim premiere)
Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
Written by: Michael Green, Glenn Ficarra, John Requa, John Norville, Josh Goldstein
Based on: Walt Disney’s The Jungle Cruise
Music by: James Newton Howard
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramirez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons, Paul Giamatti, 

Davis Entertainment, Flynn Picture Company, Walt Disney Pictures, 127 Minutes

Review:

“Hey, McGregor! Had a girlfriend once, she was cross-eyed. Didn’t work out. We could never see eye to eye!” – Frank Wolff

I watched this on the same day as Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. While that film didn’t do much for me, except help solidify the fact that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is nowhere near the level of greatness it once was, this film actually ended up being a lot of fun and much more enjoyable.

This isn’t a great effort by Disney and in fact, this is basically a paint-by-numbers Disney adventure film. However, just as enjoyed the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels, albeit not as much as the original film, I also enjoyed this in the same sort of way.

Honestly, this has a lot in common with a Disney Pirates movie in that it has treasure hunting, fantastical villains, a well-paced, action-packed story and a lot of water… this time the world’s biggest river system instead of an ocean.

I also thought that Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt worked really well together and through their performances and their characters, you can kind of see an homage to Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn in The African Queen. However, Blunt’s character brings her brother along and it makes for a trio of heroes that also plays homage to the trio from The Mummy films with Brendan Fraser. Funnily enough, Dwayne Johnson was the villain in the second of those Mummy movies.

Anyway, out of everyone in this, I really, really loved Jesse Plemons role. The guy is one of the most talented actors of his generation and he has an exceptional range. The dude really can do anything. However, I believe that this is the first time I’ve seen him actually be comedic. He plays one of the film’s villains, a German prince that just happens to own a submarine that can traverse the Amazon River basin. He’s jovial, a bit psychotic and delivers his lines with an over-the-top German accent. There’s one scene where Plemons’ pronunciation of “jungle” creates a similar, hilarious scene akin to Steve Martin’s “hamburger” scene in his first Pink Panther movie.

Beyond the acting, some of the writing is cheesy as hell but a lot more jokes land in this film than they did in Disney’s Shang-Chi. Johnson’s skipper likes to use an extreme overabundance of puns while giving Amazon tours but the failure of the bad jokes are really the jokes themselves. However, some of the references didn’t make since as the film takes place during World War I and there is a pun about concentrated orange, which wasn’t invented till 1945, the final year of World War II. But then again, modern Disney writers don’t care much about research.

The film, as I’ve said, is action-packed and most of it is really good. This is a fantastical story with all sorts of supernatural characters and situations but almost all of the action was pretty grounded, all things considered. This wasn’t a total shitshow like Shang-Chi, where people without saddles or reins were riding dragons that flew and twisted at ridiculous speeds. When something crazy did happen here, there was a real reason for it and an explanation given, such as in the scene where Johnson falls to his death but miraculously survives, mostly unscathed.

I don’t know what the plans are going forward but I wouldn’t be opposed to a sequel. Granted, I’d rather see these characters go on an adventure to somewhere entirely different and I don’t know how you fit that into the Jungle Cruise concept. Unless, they use these characters and tie them to some other classic Disney ride.

Rating: 7.5/10

Film Review: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

Also known as: Steamboat (working title)
Release Date: August 16th, 2021 (Hollywood premiere)
Directed by: Destin Daniel Cretton
Written by: Dave Callaham, Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew Lanham
Based on: Marvel Comics
Music by: Joel P. West
Cast: Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Florian Munteanu, Benedict Wong, Michelle Yeoh, Ben Kingsley, Tony Leung, Tim Roth (voice, uncredited), Mark Ruffalo, Brie Larson

Fox Studios Australia, Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Pictures, 132 Minutes

Review:

“I was hired to play a terrorist. And then turns out they were actually terrorists, the producer got blown up by Iron Man, and I was arrested!” – Trevor Slattery

So this is now the third Marvel movie that I haven’t seen in the theater following Captain Marvel and Black Widow. And like with those other two, I’m glad I didn’t waste money on this because it’s a so far below where the MCU was at its peak that it’s almost sad to see where it’s all going now.

To start, I thought Simu Liu was fine as the title character and I like Michelle Yeoh, Tony Leung and Ben Kingsley in pretty much everything but I’ve never seen someone suck the fucking air out of the room like awkward ass Awkwafina.

Christ, man… she’s the worst actress I’ve seen sine Rob Zombie’s wife. I also heard she’s a comedian but every joke this “Asian Jeff Gordon” threw at us, landed flatter than steamrolled pancake. She just wrecks nearly every scene she is in and she is in most of them. The fact that she sounds like an 82 year-old woman is also really distracting. But let me not just single her out because she’s not the only negative thing in this picture.

To start, I get that this story centers around China but the use of subtitles to open the film with all the fantastical backstory, wasn’t necessary. This is an American movie and Marvel shit is heavily geared towards kids. Five year-old Timmy ain’t reading that shit and no one in the theater wants to listen to his mom trying to audibly read it out loud to him and the dozen other kids. But Disney obviously did this to pander to China, who didn’t even want this movie because it was “offensive”, starred an “ugly” lead from their perspective, and was obvious pandering. It nearly wasn’t released but once it was, it didn’t do well there and Disney, as is becoming the norm lately, were left with egg on their face.

The film also suffers from trying way too hard to be cool. It starts with the shitty rap music used to introduce the main character, which just plays as a cheap attempt at old Disney execs trying to come off as hip. Then there is the friends hanging out in San Francisco sequence, which comes off as cringe CW teen drama bullshit. Then it just continues to try and double down on modern urban music over a traditional score… well, at least for the first half because the second half is almost a different movie altogether.

Getting back to pandering, the film tries to do it with the woke crowd but also fails in that regard. One thing that really sticks out is when Shang-Chi’s sister talks about how her dad wouldn’t let her train with the men, so she watched them and taught herself better. Then, in the next scene, she grabs her dad’s shoulder and gets taken down in one fucking move. It was embarrassing (see for yourself).

So then we meet Ben Kingsley, the fake Mandarin from Iron Man 3, and the second half of the movie starts, which goes from urban kung fu flick to fantastical, mythological kung fu flick. I like the second half better and thought that the film started to pull something worthwhile together before it decided to shit all over itself, again.

To get to fantasy China, though, they had to take an ancient passageway through a magical forest. However, they had to use a BMW, in what felt like a blatant advert, to move fast enough to “stay in the pocket” of trees opening a rapidly moving, little clearing. If they didn’t stay in the pocket, the trees would’ve apparently ate them. What’s really baffling about this and, as we’ve seen with The Rise of Skywalker, Disney doesn’t expect its audience to think about the details. But we’re not all as fucktarded as the “creatives” at Disney. If we were, we might not think that this is really stupid because BMWs didn’t exist in ancient China and horses wouldn’t have moved fast enough to “stay in the pocket”. But whatever, just watch the movie like a brainless consumer.

Once we get to fantasy China, we get lots of fancy CGI creatures that look cool but also make the film kind of overly fantastical and cartoony, after we just spent an hour watching a generic Iron Fist episode set in a realistic, urban atmosphere. It’s kind of jarring to the senses but it’s also where this story begins to find its own unique space within the larger MCU.

We meet Shang-Chi’s aunt, Awkwafina makes more bad jokes, Ben Kingsley is just there, and they all start training for the big showdown with Shang’s evil dad, who should’ve just been the real Mandarin operating in the shadows but he’s instead just a generic Asian crime lord with fancy bracelets called the “Ten Rings” but unlike the comic, aren’t actually rings, they’re bracelets.

Anyway, Shang-Chi’s official superhero costume looks like some club shirt he bought on Etsy for $65 that will fall apart after one rave. His sister’s outfit is about the same, and everything just sort of looks generic and like a Canadian television production.

The fight breaks out, it’s alright but eventually we get a big battle between two large ass dragons. So the movie has two dragons in it but neither of them are Fin Fang Foom?! Fuck you, Disney. Talk about a wasted opportunity.

So one dragon is basically Falcor from The NeverEnding Story with red streaks down its body and the other is just some generic, multi-armed abomination of a dragon that looks like it was designed by my nephew Max, who is repeating third grade this year.

The good guys win and Wong from Doctor Strange shows up to introduce them to Captain Marvel and Hulk, who is back to being Banner with no explanation, and they discover that the Ten Rings, now in Shang’s possession, are sending out some beacon. Whatever. I don’t care about the future of the MCU anymore.

All in all, I thought this was okay. It’s better than Black Widow and Captain Marvel but it’s definitely a bottom five MCU movie. It probably would’ve been better if Awkwafina was nowhere near this thing and if the writers actually read a comic book before “adapting” this character and this pocket of the Marvel universe.

Rating: 5.5/10

Documentary Review: Jasper Mall (2020)

Release Date: January 24th, 2020 (Slamdance Film Festival)
Directed by: Bradford Thomason, Brett Whitcomb

Window Pictures, 85 Minutes

Review:

“If Belk goes, we are in deep woo-woo.” – customer

I didn’t go into this film expecting it to hit me in the feels but man, it really did. I think that has to do with the fact that I spent a lot of time in my youth going to malls, hanging out in malls and eventually working in one doing a bunch of different jobs from stock boy, sales, store management and eventually a third-shift security supervisor.

With that, I probably have a different level of nostalgia for indoor malls, as well as a deeper understanding of what they were and how they’ve declined in recent years.

This documentary captures a year in the life of the Jasper Mall in Jasper, Alabama, which isn’t too far from Birmingham. It focuses on multiple people but the main person is a former zoo owner who now works for the mall in a variety of roles from trying to lease space, being the head of security, maintenance and janitorial work. He’s sort of the “Jack of all trades” in the mall and it’s almost like he lives there.

His love and dedication to his job, the mall itself and the community around the mall is pretty damn inspiring but it’s also really sad, considering that the mall is having a really hard time keeping tenants and attracting patrons in a world with online shopping and other new options that have popped up in recent years.

We also get to spend time with a shop owner, who is retiring but has been a mainstay in the mall for a couple decades.

Beyond that, we get to meet a job applicant, a few other workers and shop owners, as well as some of the regular patrons, who don’t want to see their once prosperous community center die.

This isn’t just about Jasper Mall, though, it’s about small town America and the decline of malls in general. This one just feels like the perfect subject to convey this story and to bring light to what has happened to shopping malls across the country.

Jasper Mall is incredibly genuine and real. It makes you yearn for simpler times when everyone loved going to the mall on the weekends not just to shop but to interact with others in the community. They used to be places where things happened and in most cases now, they’ve become ghost towns and mausoleums to our cultural history.

Rating: 8/10

Film Review: Malignant (2021)

Also known as: Silvercup (working title)
Release Date: September 1st, 2021 (France)
Directed by: James Wan
Written by: Akela Cooper, James Wan, Ingrid Bisu
Music by: Joseph Bishara
Cast: Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young, Jacqueline McKenzie, Michole Briana White, Mckenna Grace, Zoe Bell

Boom! Studios, Boom Entertainment, Atomic Monster, My Entertainment Inc., Starlight Media Inc. New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures, 111 Minutes

Review:

“It’s time to cut out the cancer.” – Gabriel

*There be spoilers here!

I went into this movie blindly and I would say that this is the best way to approach Malignant. I hadn’t seen a trailer and frankly, I didn’t know of its existence until it hit HBO Max (at the same time it hit theaters) and then I saw that Joe Bob Briggs was really happy with it.

Having now watched it, I really wish I would’ve seen it in the theater and I still might on my second viewing of it.

I’ve got to state that this was just solid, top-to-bottom and I think it could very well be James Wan’s best movie that I’ve seen, apart from my original theatrical viewing of Saw. That film’s legacy was destroyed by its countless, underwhelming and eventually terrible sequels. I hope that Malignant doesn’t follow suit and become a watered down franchise like Saw or James Wan’s Conjuring universe.

It’s hard not talking about this movie without spoiling it. So if you know nothing about this, you should stop reading here. Seriously, it’s worth checking out and something I’d consider one of the ten best horror films of the last ten years or so. But you should just jump into it, knowing nothing, and just enjoy the ride.

So here come spoilers, galore. Turn back now or ruin the film for yourself; you have been warned.

The intro to the movie clues you in that there’s some sort of creature that’s very dangerous but you only get an obscured glance of it through opaque plastic curtains. It’s hard to tell what it is and whether it’s some sort of mutant or supernatural (possibly spiritual) force that’s taken physical manifestation. The only real clue you’re given is from dialogue spoken by the lead doctor referring to it as “cancer”.

As we meet Maddie, the main character, years later, we see her life, her shitty relationship and discover that she’s in her third pregnancy after losing the two previous babies. Her boyfriend is immediately abusive, physically, and that leads into the first encounter with the creature in current time.

Initially, this feels like either a haunted house or possession movie. However, as the plot rolls on and new clues and experiences are presented, it’s much more complicated and complex than that. We eventually learn that Maddie has a direct connection to this monster and then Matrix-type shit starts happening as reality bends and shifts and the plot becomes more layered, more complex yet incredibly more interesting without becoming a convoluted mess. At this point, you’re just filled with questions and intrigue.

Fast-forward and many developments later, you learn that Maddie was a Siamese twin and that her other half was an evil, murderous bastard named Gabriel. Gabriel was the “cancer” that was mostly cut out from Maddie, however, they couldn’t fully remove him without killing her, so the remaining part of him, that was attached to her brain, was shaved back and pushed into the back of her skull. You also find out that he fed off of her unborn babies in an effort to regain his power. Maddie getting her head slammed into the wall by her boyfriend was enough to finally wake Gabriel back up.

So with the big reveal, the film reminds me of Brian De Palma’s Sisters, as well as an obscure 1988 film, Brain Damage. Granted, I don’t think that Wan stole from these movies, as this story is still really original and stands on its own two feet.

Everything comes to a head when Maddie is in a holding cell, the prime suspect in several murders, and Gabriel finally regains full control and brutalizes the shit out of the other inmates, who were bullying and brutalizing Maddie. This scene is just cool as fuck and Maddie/Gabriel takes action like a character from The Matrix. The really neat thing, anatomy-wise, is that Gabriel’s face is attached to the back of Maddie’s head, so her body does its martial arts badassery physically backwards. It’s a bizarre but incredibly cool sight.

In the end, Maddie gains full control back from Gabriel and suppresses him seemingly into nonexistence, again. However, the film ends kind of abruptly after this and it’s unclear what will happen to her, as the only cop that learned the truth is presumably dead. And with that, it’s obvious that there will be a sequel.

They should learn from Saw and The Conjuring, that sequels will dilute the effect of the original movie. However, everything Wan touches seemingly turns into gold and I assume that this will also be milked to death. Still, I liked this enough that I would see a sequel and just hope for the best.

What really made this movie work so damn well was the incredibly convincing performance by its star, Annabelle Wallis, who I loved and hope to see more from in the future.

I also liked a lot of sequences in this, especially the stuff in the Seattle Underground. It’s a really cool location to utilize for horror and it’s been weirdly underutilized for decades. This movie makes the most out of that setting and it also gave us some really good action when Gabriel was on the run from the main cop in the story.

In recent years, the horror genre has been fairly shit. Malignant was one of the very few films that grabbed my attention, kept me glued to the screen and exceeded any expectations I could’ve had for it. Additionally, it’s finely directed, wonderfully acted and a cool, unique story that is a legitimate mindfuck of the highest caliber.

Rating: 9/10