James Wan is a legendary filmmaker of the modern era. He has primarily worked in the Horror genre. Some of his notable works include creating the Conjuring Universe, the Saw, and the Insidious franchises. His latest work is the movie Malignant. Malignant is being termed as the scariest movie of 2021 and also Wan’s best work in years. Malignant is a typical Wan movie with his scariest horror trademarks being in the film. Here we have a look at them which made this movie a true horror classic.
The Environment in the Movie
The Environment setup is key in any movie. It determines the impact the movie has. James Wan has gone with a suburban environment in Malignant. It’s nothing new to his style. He has used a similar environment set up in the Insidious movies. Viewers seem to enjoy a suburban environment in the horror flicks. An isolated environment is, of course, obvious for a horror story. But a safe-sounding suburban setting thrills the fans when a horror story is set in it.
A Trademark Protagonist
A woman named Madison is the main character in Malignant. Like other Wan movies, the main character is the best and a haunted one in this. However, in this case, it’s not necessarily an entity that haunts her. Instead, it’s the people that she is surrounded by. She has both the ones she loves and the others, the authority figures.
Wan has a trademark of shocking and frightening people with his storylines. He usually has a frightful beginning to his films. Then the things slow down a bit as the story is built. The character arcs are built. But after that, he comes back with another shock.
Malignant is an amplified version of this. The opening is like a light shock, like a light jab. But it’s about the one that comes after it. The second one is more like a hard right.
Horror Visuals in Malignant
Wan has trademark technique regarding visuals of the horror villain in his movies. He flash-surprises the antagonist on occasions when the main focus is on some other character.
Malignant stays along these lines, as the audience only sees flashes of Gabriel in most of the movie. However, in the end, all the curtains are dropped, and the true identity of Gabriel is revealed.
Wan makes it a point to show somehow a past connection to the present storyline in his movies. Of course, he did it in Insidious as well.
Malignant is no different. Gabriel is shown to have a deep different connection with Madison. First, he appears as an imaginary friend. Then it is revealed that he is no imaginary friend. He is Madison’s twin brother. Also, Gabriel is not only shown as part of Madison’s past but, in some sense, a part of Madison herself.
Wan has used another one of his recurring techniques in Malignant. It is often the visual of the antagonist standing right behind his prey moments before the killing. In this way, the hunted is not even able to look at its hunter. But Derek’s scene in the movie is an exception where he has frequent looks at Gabriel.
Wan frequently uses the red and blue color scheme in his movies. The same is the case with Malignant. It’s especially visible when Gabriel stalks Derek. Madison’s nightmares are another example. This color scheme no doubt creates a serious horror look.