MALIGNANT (18, 111 minutes)
Horror films today are built on cliché, which is why so many of them descend into pastiche or go the lazy slasher route.
The trick is to take all of that seen it, done it stuff – the build up of suspense, the he’s behind you moments, the jump out of your skin shocks, some shocking violence without getting too gratuitous, the supernatural villain (of course) – and make it seem fresh anyway (something director James Wan has already achieved successfully with The Conjuring franchise)..
Malignant manages to pull that feat off admirably for all of 85 minutes thanks to a well constructed storyline, dialogue which, apart from the risible very last line stays just the right side of silly and some creative direction and cinematography.
Madison (played by English actress Annabelle Wallis – Annabelle, Peaky Blinders and The Tudors) becomes plagued by visions where she is witness to a series of murders carried out by her childhood “imaginary friend” Gabriel.
Everything is building swimmingly when suddenly, with the big reveal leading to the film’s climax, everything goes wonderfully and utterly laugh out loud Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone level bonkers with a series of gory but brilliantly choreographed set pieces.
Now some could find that a bit of a distraction, but once you get your head around what you’re seeing, with the absence of anyone with what could be described as star stature it’s really very entertaining and enjoyable.
Maybe not always for the right reasons, but who cares?