Alright, I don’t even know how to truly start this post.

When I first heard of Malignant I was sort of intrigued. I stress sort of because I don’t think I ever saw a full trailer? I only ever saw clips on Facebook or Twitter that were about 10 seconds long and went right into the title slide of the movie. I am assuming this was an attempt to lure people in, but for me it did almost the exact opposite. I honestly forgot that it was even a thing until I saw it on the front of my HBO. That was when I thought, “eh…I’ll give it a shot”.

Let’s start with the not so great parts of this movie. Horror movies are usually made with a goal of confusing the audience into fear. Malignant did a great job…on the first part of that. There was so much going on in so many different places during the first 40 minutes of the movie, that the audience never got any real answers to anything. However, nothing majorly scary had even happened yet. I say nothing scary had happened at this point because the only glimpses that we had seen of the murderer/creature/monster were things we had seen a million times before. There was nothing unique or new about anything we were exposed to in the beginning of the film.

This leads to my next issue with the movie which was the pacing. There was so much crammed into the first third of the film, that it all very quickly became muddled and convoluted. We didn’t even know what we were seeing, how could we be scared of it? Honestly I was left so confused that I didn’t even start to enjoy any of the events going on until the last 20 minutes or so.

I’ll end with the positives. This movie took a very unique approach to the doppelganger trope. Eventually the film made a full circle back to the beginning of the confusion and set some things straight, which was done really well and made the movie come to a complete and satisfying close. I was intrigued by the approach taken here as it was something I hadn’t seen before, at least not in a physical form. There were also some great moments of cinematography in the film, such as the lighting in the opening scene, the use of found footage in the film, and the birds-eye view tracking shot through the house.

Overall, this wasn’t really a knock out of the park for me. The pro’s don’t really outweigh the cons. The uniqueness that comes from the few positives that I did find are what makes me give it a 4/10. If things like Criminal Minds or X-Files are your thing, you might enjoy this a bit more. My love of those shows is what had me so interested in the good parts of the film. I have nothing but respect for James Wan, as he’s directed some of the most iconic horror films. Many of those are some of my favorites. However, Malignant just isn’t one of those.

Let me know your thoughts about Malignant on twitter (@justmenat_)

Stay entertained…

When I was a child, I was absolutely traumatized by the film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Mist. Which means that logically I am now obsessed with horror films, because that’s how trauma works. ANYWHO!

As my love for the genre developed, I began to find myself drawn to movies that looked as though I could do them myself, make millions from just holding a small camcorder in my hand. While that is not entirely true, found footage movies are generally portrayed as just that. Which is what makes them so important. Found footage movies take horror directly into our minds and mess with us from the inside out. Which is why I believe they’re critical to not only horror but to film as a whole.

Still from Grave Encounters one of my personal favorite found footage films

Let’s take a journey back in time to the year of 1999 (I’m done rhyming now, but you know where we are headed with this). The Blair Witch Project had everyones minds bent and the hair on their neck standing up. Why? Because the film was marketed as almost a true story, add to that the fact that it was filmed documentary style and you have a recipe for true terror. The continuations of the franchise are their own breed of terror but I don’t think we’ll get into that right now. However, the found footage technique, take, style, however you want to put it, really hit the ground running after this film. The Paranormal Activity films, Cloverfield, Creep, and even films like Chronicle all make lasting impacts on the viewers, because they incredibly difficult to purposefully distinguish from reality.

Viewers have a desire, heck, a need for control when they see a film. How many times have you gone into a thriller or a horror film and tried to piece together how the whole thing would play out? How many movies have you found to be predictable? Were you disappointed when you were right? It’s no secret that movies follow a formula, and while found footage movies do as well to a certain degree, they keep something vital to us out of our reach. We begin to feel as though we are the ones doing the filming, seeing the events in real time therefore we feel as though we can’t predict what is going to happen next, which means our comfort of control slowly falls away. We watch the security camera footage through the phone recording, we close the shelter door as the creature we have yet to actually see finally comes into view. We become the main character. Found footage movies are like the film version of virtual reality systems. Play a horror game in one of those…do it…you’ll see.

Still from Chronicle

When audiences become uncomfortable, when they can’t predict things, or confidently understand how it was done with special effects, all cards are off the table. We begin to question things as though we really are the main character, not as if we are watching the main character. Found footage movies take away the audiences security, which is what horror has always tried to do. Not only are they successful at pulling us into the fear, but they are capable of instilling fear over every subgenre of horror. This makes them, in my opinion, the strongest contender in the horror field.

Give me some more found footage movies to watch on twitter (@justmenat_)

Until next time,

Stay entertained…