Spoiler-Free Review of “Malignant” on HBO Max: Bizarre Blend of Genres

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

“It’s all in my head…”

Malignant released on September 10th 2021. The supernatural horror film is currently available to watch in theaters and on HBO Max. It stars Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young and Michole Briana White. It runs for approximately an hour and fifty minutes.

After experiencing some violent and shocking visions, a young pregnant woman begins to realize that they may actually be based in reality, linking them to her past.

Here is the trailer:

Malignant is directed by Saw’s James Wan, which could be extremely promising for horror fans, but does this film ever truly find its identity? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Images courtesy of HBO Max

Visually intriguing.

This entire film had so many stunning and unique visual effects. The use of perspective was also extremely well done. I thought this helped the film stand out from other supernatural horror films. The intensity was there, but in a different way. The body horror displayed was really disturbing as well…

Images courtesy of HBO Max

Decent beginning and ending.

The opening of the film was really creepy and intense. I was on the edge of my seat and looking over my shoulder quite a few times. The middle part of the movie fell off in terms of pacing for me, but the ending was shocking in a way and reeled me back in. The mystery at the core of the film also keeps you invested until the end although I am sure there will be mixed reactions to the reveal.

The Cons:

Images courtesy of HBO Max

Major identity crisis.

Several genres blended together during this film, which made the plot jump around so much. The middle of the film went in so many different directions and it was a little messy. I still don’t really know what this film was attempting to be and I started to really contemplate what I was actually watching, which was frustrating at times. Some of the reveals were pretty predictable as well, but I just felt like I was being tossed all over the place for the majority of the film.

Glosses over real issues.

Our main character went through quite a lot in her life and while these elements and flashbacks were introduced, they were never really developed and we are just supposed to accept that they happened and move on. I couldn’t connect that well to our main character even though Annabelle’s Annabelle Wallis presented us with a solid and chilling performance. 

So am I in or out?

Images courtesy of HBO Max

I’m 50/50 on this one…

The visual effects and unique use of perspective presented us with a lot of chilling moments, but the lack of a solid identity made this film go off the rails several times. There were decent performances and the mystery was interesting enough to keep you watching until the end. This movie was a really weird watch for me, but it does have some redeeming moments. It just may not be what you were hoping for from the trailer…

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Malignant in the comments section below. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

DON’T TAKE THE JOB…

It was only supposed to be temporary…but when Olivia Crewe accepts a new position that seems too good to be true, she soon discovers that twelve other girls previously had the same job as her. Only none of them lasted for more than thirty days. No notice. Nothing…right before they mysteriously disappeared without a trace.

My supernatural thriller Girl Number Thirteen is out now! I hope you enjoy!

Girl Number Thirteen is available here!

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Spoiler-Free Review of “Chambers” on Netflix: Trippy Horror Identity Crisis

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

“It’s the unseen energy that surrounds your body.  It tells you who you really are inside.”  But what happens when your aura is shared with someone else?  A good question for sure and Sasha Yazzie is about to experience this first hand after she survives a heart transplant and begins to feel more than connected to her dead donor, Becky Lefevre.  Sasha is welcomed into Becky’s former home, as Becky’s family desperately tries to make a connection with her, still coping with the death of their teenage daughter.

Sasha learns that Becky’s death may not have been an accident after all, as she starts to put the pieces together after experiencing some hallucinations and distant memories.  But are they actually hallucinations or has Sasha tapped into Becky’s spirit somehow?  I’m ready to find out, as Sasha tries to unravel the mystery behind Becky’s death, but will she lose her own soul in the process?

Chambers currently features 10 episodes, all streaming on Netflix as of April 26th 2019.  It stars Sivan Alyra Rose, Marcus LaVoi, Uma Thurman, Tony Goldwyn and Lili Taylor.  The show sort of has an indie horror supernatural vibe mixed with 13 Reasons Why, as we get some teenage drama sprinkled in along with some Native American culture.  Throughout the series, we are presented with different suspects and new twists and turns, as we try to piece together the mystery surrounding Sasha and her dangerous passenger.

The Pros:

Chambers 5
Image courtesy of Netflix

The premise of the show and the opening episodes are really intriguing.

The show actually starts off brilliantly.  It captured my attention right away and I was immediately drawn to Sasha’s character and I felt a connection to her.  The first three episodes of the series are haunting, eerie, and unique.  They present us with some legitimately scary moments of horror, while introducing us to the other elements of the show, which immediately drew me in to the mystery.

The performances are believable and the characters are unique.

I have an issue with shows that give me an awesome story and plot, but characters who are underdeveloped and acting that is lacking.  However, I almost felt the opposite with this show.  The performances were incredible and moving.  Stand-out performances go to Sivan Alyra Rose as Sasha and Uma Thurman as Nancy.  All of the characters had interesting qualities and I even believed the friendships and relationships going on around them.  I almost felt like these performances were too good for this series and they deserved better, but they did keep me invested in the show.

The music soundtrack and setting.

I don’t always pay attention to a music soundtrack, but this show has an amazing one.  Throughout the series, we get an excellent mix of soulful R&B, subtle techno, and mesmerizing moody rock.  The kind of moody rock that makes you want to lie down on your floor and listen to it again and again, while staring up at the ceiling and contemplating the world around you.  And this worked perfectly with this show.  The music mirrored the indie trippy vibe I was getting and I loved it.

The song that stuck out the most for me, and probably for you too, is “I Wanna Be Adored” by The Stone Roses, which you can listen to below.

Sasha begins hearing this song in Becky’s car and we later hear it again and again, as we learn that it has a connection to Becky’s mysterious death.  Seriously, I loved it so much that I have been jamming out to it myself and dancing around, but I have yet to come in contact with another soul so far, so I guess my aura is clear for now.  One of the lyrics in the song is, “I don’t have to sell my soul.  He’s already in me,” which is clever and spot on, as Sasha deals with her own soul sharing.

The imagery through the setting of the show is beautiful and intriguing as well.  The show takes place in Arizona, but was mostly filmed in New Mexico and gave me a Breaking Bad nostalgia.  The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and the fade-ins and camera angles worked well with it, which was a pro for me.  This show had so many beautiful and mysterious elements and this was complimented by the setting for sure.

The Cons:

Chambers 7
Image courtesy of Netflix

This show drags in so many parts.

While the first three episodes moved rather quickly for me, the remaining episodes felt slow and I think it’s mostly because there were too many filler moments that just didn’t work.  Each episode runs about 40-45 minutes, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but if it feels like an episode is taking forever, that’s not so great.  There were just too many moments of fluff in-between that didn’t really do anything for the show and it just slowed down the tempo too much for me, while only giving me small pieces of the mystery I invested so much time into.

This show doesn’t really know what it wants to be.

So, my title for today’s blog included identity crisis and I think that’s probably this show’s main problem.  It just felt like it didn’t know which way to go.  While it is perfectly acceptable for genres to overlap with one another, this show seemed like it was zigzagging all over the place.  Many of the plots started to branch out on their own with no real set-up or explanation.  I was along for the ride, but I often felt like I was hallucinating myself, as I tried to grab hold of what this show was truly trying to be, which was kind of exhausting and disappointing.

So am I in or out? 

Chambers 6
Image courtesy of Netflix

Overall, I was actually really frustrated with this show because I felt like it had the potential to be absolutely brilliant.  The first three episodes were different and unique and the pros that I mentioned earlier really held my attention.  Even the ending of the show is really great and it left us with a major cliffhanger that will need to be explored if this gets picked up for a season two.  I feel like a few tweaks could have made this show so much better.  For example, we get 10 episodes, but I think this show could have been done in 6-8 episodes max.  More episodes isn’t always better and this actually caused the show to drag and spiral out into too many directions.

The premise and the mystery will keep you guessing and is enough to hold your attention, but I guess I was just so upset that this could have easily become one of my new favorite shows if it just tried a little bit harder.  Overall, I’d say it was OK to pretty good and I’d give it a B minus-B range.  I wouldn’t say that you need to stop what you are doing to watch this, but it does have enough going on to provide you with some entertainment and some creepy horror elements, so I’d say to add it to your future watch list, once your other favorite shows stop airing new episodes.

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Chambers in the comments section below.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

**I am so excited to announce that my book, The Search for Alice, is now available!  If you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery, then this might be the book for you or someone you know!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I hope you enjoy!

**Book Two of the Dreaming of Wonderland series is scheduled to come out in June 2019 so stay tuned on that!!!!!

The Search for Alice is available here!

The Search for Alice Feb 2019

Free Instant Preview of The Search for Alice is available here!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

@TV_Fanatic_Girl

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Do you love horror series?  Of course you do!  Please also check out 12 Nights of Horror Series Coming Soon.  It’s your home for everything you need to know about new and returning horror television series including new trailers, premiere dates, reviews, recaps, and renewals!