Malignant Movie Ending Explained (In Detail)

That a filmmaker gets the kind of free pass that James Wan does for MALIGNANT Nowadays we almost only know streaming services like Netflix. Nevertheless, the giallo homage from the “Conjuring” and “Saw” creator has now made it to the cinema under the Warner flag. And we should be grateful for that – despite small weaknesses. We reveal more about this in our review.

OT: Malignant (USA/CHN/ROU 2021)

The plot summary

As if the heavily pregnant Madison (Annabelle Wallis) didn’t already have enough to do with her role as an expectant mother after three miscarriages, she also has to defend herself against the physical attacks of her violent husband. One evening, this toxic relationship culminates in a physical argument; But before the young woman can call for help, her tormentor is brutally murdered by a sinister killer. Madison, who witnessed this incident, not only suffers severe trauma, but also loses her unborn child. From then on, Madison only lets her sister (Maddie Hasson) get close to her, to whom she also tells about her terrible visions. She repeatedly witnesses the murders of strangers before her own eyes – and also feels persecuted by the killer himself. Together with two initially suspicious cops (George Young, Michole Briana White), the two women try to get to the bottom of the scary nightmares…


One of the greatest strengths of author and director James Wan is that he knows exactly the needs of the target group he serves with his films and yet doesn’t just serve them, but does his best at all times. Example: “The Conjuring”: When the filmmaker, who has now arrived in big-budget Hollywood cinema, launched one of the most successful horror brands in history with the haunted house horror, he actually only showed what his audience had seen through films like “ Amityville Horror” had long been known: But Wan prepared the usual motifs – inexplicable movements of objects, flickering lights and eerie shadows – in such an intense way that celebrated horror cinema itself that “Conjuring” despite it became one of the scariest films of its year; What Wan was able to underline once again with the direct successor. All of this also applies to his other genre films. And with “Saw,” his feature film debut, he even laid the foundation for a new subgenre. That thanks to his box office successes “Fast & Furious 7” and “Aquaman”, it was apparently easy for him to scrape together a not insignificant sum of production money from a Hollywood studio like Warner Bros. to create a dirty little horror bastard (as he played in the early production phases at least sold) with a large marketing base is in itself a similar triumph to the existence of James Gunn’s version of “The Suicide Squad”. With the small difference that Wan – at least in the initial phase of his film – makes concessions to a mainstream audience that we wouldn’t have actually expected from “Malignant”. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean something bad…

Madison (Annabelle Wallis) no longer knows what is real and what is imaginary…

James Wan is a horror fan through and through. Anyone who previously doubted this because, apart from “Saw”, they have mainly made genre-conform films (as mentioned, nevertheless extremely well directed) will now be proven wrong with “Malignant”. At first it doesn’t look like that at all. He foregoes pleasing glossy images in favor of a washed-out, emphatically reduced color look, which we already know from the prologue to “Conjuring”; Only later on do classic giallo color games and visual accents of this Italian horror film style influenced by Dario Argento and Mario Brava join in. The film can soon be divided into two halves, or even more so into three thirds. In the first, he routinely reels off the big Haunted House basics when the main character Madison is confronted with the villain for the first time – a slashing boogeyman like the one in the book – and the classification into earthly or supernatural realms is not yet entirely clear is. With the help of front doors that open as if by magic or technical devices that turn on themselves (what was a sewing machine in “Annabelle” is a food processor in “Malignant”), Wan and his cameraman Michael Burgess create (“The Conjuring 3: The Devil’s Spell”) the tried and tested paranoia of “not feeling safe in your own four walls”. But thanks to Akela Coopers (“Hell Fest”) The script, which in the initial phase deals intensively with the emotional state of emergency of its protagonist (strong: “Annabelle” leading actress Annabelle Wallis), who is plagued by miscarriages, tormented by her husband and finally haunted by a mysterious killer, is at least not indifferent to all of this ; Although the first section of “Malignant” is clearly the weakest.

“In the first third, Wan routinely reels off the big Haunted House basics when the main character Madison is confronted with the villain for the first time – a slashing boogeyman like the one in the book – and the classification into earthly or supernatural realms is not quite there yet it’s clear.

In the second, the change finally begins: James Wan leaves the haunted house cinema behind as much as possible (for his standards, he even reduces the number of jump scares) in order to devote himself entirely to the transition to giallo cinema. Now, the extreme focus on the colors blue and red doesn’t automatically turn a horror film into a giallo film. But on a narrative level, too, the Malaysian native is increasingly reflecting on the giallo’s set pieces by focusing, apart from Madison, on the investigations of two cops. If you reduce the giallo to its basic structure, the genre is known above all for its crime plots, excessive levels of violence and mostly crude, absurd stories and twists. And especially in the freewheeling third part of “Malignant” he makes the most of the fact that the last two components in particular hardly appear in Hollywood horror films today. In doing so, he either makes “Malignant” either inaccessible to an audience that expects exactly that and that the film pretends to be at the beginning, or else it gives the impression of being a grab bag. Because even if not everything about the production is successful, Wan cannot be accused of either lacking the courage to be consistent or making compromises. Something that we are, however, for the entire film would have hoped…

Madison and her sister (Maddie Hasson) try to find out what’s behind the visions.

Because speaking of “freewheeling”: Once Wan does this, it is almost impossible to predict what will happen next in “Malignant”. Although he scatters the clues about the killer’s existence a little too clearly at first and it wouldn’t be surprising (small tip: be sure not to search the film title through Google Translate in advance, because one of the suggestions hides a massive spoiler !), parts of the audience out there should be able to predict more or less accurately where the journey will go. By the way, the comparison with the first “Harry Potter” film came to mind, but don’t worry: you won’t understand this parallel until you’ve seen “Malignant”. But the story here is defined less by what and more by how. And so it’s less about figuring out who’s actually in the killer costume (the resolution is predestined to divide people!) and more about the fun of watching Wan do exactly that with his characters , whatever he’s in the mood for. Above all, the violence on display, which is nowhere near as harsh as expected, reflects his courage in being able to forego more and more of what is otherwise expected of him and what is used to him. This culminates in a wild shootout at a police station, the style of which is reminiscent of a video game, but at the same time has massive mindfuck qualities due to the killer’s backwards movements (!). You can also forgive “Malignant” the fact that it simply doesn’t come to an end towards the end.

“The story is defined less by what and more by how. And so it’s less about figuring out who’s actually in the killer costume and more about the fun of watching Wan do exactly what he feels like doing with his characters.”

Of course, we cannot yet judge at this point to what extent “Malignant” will be continued. Apart from the box office result, the killer character already has some potential to carry a franchise on his shoulders. The design alone ensures this. Nevertheless, the story surrounding the actual main character Madison is told after this film. But Wan wouldn’t be Wan (or Warner Bros. wouldn’t be Warner Bros.) if they didn’t leave some kind of back door open. Let’s see how “Malignant” is received by the audience…

Conclusion: As a giallo homage, “Malignant” always has weaknesses when James Wan focuses too much on his tried and tested Hollywood craft. However, once it spins freely, the horror shocker develops into a surprise bag that you can really do anything with everything trusts.

“Malignant” has been in USA cinemas since September 2, 2021.

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