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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Ranking the top 5 villains from “Angel”

Happy Wednesday TV Fans!  For today, I have returned to one of my old favorites, Angel, as I am currently on the last season of my re-watch.  I have such an appreciation for this spin-off series of Buffy, as it really was not afraid to dive deeper into the darkness that exists all around us.  Angel Investigations had a mission to “help the helpless” and they did run into their fair share of villains along the way.  However, they faced some demons they never saw coming, some evil foes from their past, and even villains among each other.

These villains became worthy opponents who continued to threaten our beloved characters and the world.  Each villain was unique and terrifying in their own way, but they continuously challenged Angel.  Whether they used the law and corruption to further their agenda or just smashed everything in sight, they deserve a spot in my top 5.  Please note spoilers are ahead if you have not gotten a chance to watch the series yet. My top 5 villains from Angel are:

5

Holtz collage

Holtz

Daniel Holtz is a vampire hunter from Angel’s past and he made a deal with a demon named Sahjan so that he could get his revenge on Angel and Darla.  Holtz is the main villain in season 3 and returns from a state of suspended animation to take out “Angelus” once and for all.  Holtz learns that the vampire he knew from long ago is now with a soul, but he still wants to make him suffer.  Angelus killed Holtz’s family and Holtz wants to even the score.

He is a formidable villain because he successfully takes away the one thing that Angel truly cares about.  He doesn’t kill Angel’s son, but he abducts him and takes him to another dimension with the help of Wesley’s betrayal.  Angel’s son, Connor, ends up growing up in another dimension and is raised by Holtz.  Holtz continues to manipulate this love and even has his right hand partner in crime, Justine, kill him so it looks like Angel did it.

Holtz wants to ensure that Angel’s son will hate him for the rest of time, which is a revenge that would hurt Angel more than any other type of torture thrown his way.  Holtz was contemplative in his plan and truly impacted Angel, proving to be a villain worthy of my top 5 for sure.

4

The beast collage

The Beast

The Beast is a nearly unstoppable demon that emerges in season 4.  When Cordelia returns to earth, she has visions about this particular demon, which seems to be connected to Connor somehow.  The Beast is very powerful and Angel has a tough time fighting him.  The Beast begins killing members of the “Ra-Tet” to successfully banish the sun.  The Beast is all about destruction, but we eventually learn that his strings are being pulled by Jasmine, who has taken over Cordelia’s body.

Even though The Beast is not a master manipulator, he is powerful enough to hurt everyone in his path, including Faith, who tries to help bring back Angel once he is turned into Angelus.  The Beast was a villain made for nightmares and he definitely gave me some during my re-watch and he may have been Angel’s toughest opponent when it comes to combat.

3

Dru and darla collage

Darla & Drusilla

The delicious and dark duo that wreaked havoc in season 2 absolutely deserve a spot on my list.  By themselves, Darla and Drusilla prove to be dangerous, but as a tag team they are truly masterful.  After Darla is brought back as a human in season 2, Wolfram & Hart recruit Drusilla to turn her into a vampire.

These two bad-ass ladies just want to have fun, as they even go on a shopping spree that is to die for…literally.  Angel has close ties to both of them from his past, which makes them formidable foes.  My favorite episode with them is “Reunion,” (Season 2, episode 10), where they decide to turn the tables on Wolfram & Hart and deliver a “massacre” just like they ordered.  Only the massacre is on the lawyers, as they kill everyone at the party except for Lindsey and Lilah.

They even spark a darkness within Angel, as he allows Darla and Drusilla to kill everyone at the party.  He is not Angelus in this moment, but something else, as his past consumes him and he almost turns off his humanity here, which proves just how dangerous this duo was.

2

Jasmine collage

Jasmine

After fans were initially shocked that Cordelia could be the potential big bad in Season 4, we learn that Jasmine has been controlling her and pulling the strings.  Cordelia ends up giving birth to Jasmine, which puts her into a coma, and the goddess is released into the world.  You would think that Jasmine would be all about destruction, but her methods are different, as she creates a world of “shiny happy people.”  You know she was evil when she got Angel to wear yellow.

Everyone is enamored by Jasmine, as they flock to her and will do anything to make her happy, which is beyond dangerous.  Later on, Fred is exposed to Jasmine’s blood and sees the true face of Jasmine, which consists of maggots and rotting flesh.  Thanks to Fred, everyone else is eventually able to see what Jasmine truly is and we learn that she consumes large groups of people at a time to maintain her strength.  So, basically she eats people, but in a happy, cheery way.

Jasmine is a worthy villain because she was able to successfully infiltrate Angel’s group and use Cordelia to be reborn into the world.  She was also a villain that Angel could not just merely fight and attack, as her manipulation of the world was something transcendent of violence, but luckily we had our girl Fred there to make a difference.

Some honorable mentions before revealing my number one pick are:

  • Angelus
  • Illyria (although I don’t personally classify her as a villain)
  • Skip
  • Vocah

1

WOlfram collage.jpg

Wolfram & Hart

It should be no surprise that my favorite villain has to go to “Wolfram & Hart.”  I decided to keep them as a collective, rather than break them up individually, because that was the point of this evil law firm.  While Buffy had to fight endless demons, gods, and vampires, Angel had to deal with evil lawyers who were not afraid to cut through red tape to further their agenda.  My standout lawyers from Wolfram & Hart were Lindsey and Lilah, but the entire concept of an evil law firm was pure genius. 

The lawyers of Wolfram & Hart successfully use manipulation and corruption, which is not something Angel can just easily fight or attack.  They actually helped Angel become an even stronger hero, as he needed to think outside the box to outsmart them again and again.  In season 5, Angel is presented with the opportunity to lead the Wolfram & Hart branch in LA, which was a shock to many viewers.  Even though Angel tries to do good with the resources he now has readily available, there are still consequences and threats thrown his way.

The ultimate last apocalypse of the series is unleashed from Wolfram & Hart, which reminded us that they were the very source of the evil walking the earth.  Whether you love them or hate them, you have to respect the unique methods of Wolfram & Hart, as this law firm absolutely earns my top spot today.

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to share some of your own thoughts and comments on your favorite villains from Angel. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

**Don’t miss out on My Bloody Valentine’s Week book promotion for The Search for Alice!  It will be on sale for 99 cents from 2/11/19-2/17-19 and free with Kindle Unlimited! 

The Search for Alice is available here!

The Search for Alice 2 13

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

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

@TV_Fanatic_Girl

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As you may know, February is “Women in Horror” month. To celebrate, PromoteHorror.com asked women from different professions if they would like to answer some questions about being a “Woman in Horror,” and more. I am so excited that I was interviewed for this and I hope that everyone continues to celebrate and support women in horror all year round! Check out my Women in Horror month Interview at Women in Horror Month Interview with Author/Blogger Amy Koto