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Malignant

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WHERE IS MY MIND? After having a dream about a violent intruder entering her home, Madison Lake (Annabelle Wallis) wakes up to find her abusive husband murdered, in director James Wan's trippy thriller, Malignant. - PHOTO COURTESY OF NEW LINE CINEMA
  • Photo Courtesy Of New Line Cinema
  • WHERE IS MY MIND? After having a dream about a violent intruder entering her home, Madison Lake (Annabelle Wallis) wakes up to find her abusive husband murdered, in director James Wan's trippy thriller, Malignant.

When? 2021

What's it rated? R

Where's it available? Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV

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From dissect-you-in-your-dreams Freddy Krueger to Chucky the killer doll, Hollywood has churned out several horror institutions over the years. Then there's Gabriel, the parasitic conjoined twin who propelled Malignant to Twitter cult status simply for being ridiculous.

Directed by James Wan of Conjuring fame, the movie opens in 1993, in a research hospital where doctors are trying to curb a psychiatric patient called Gabriel who tries to kill the medical staff. Cut to 2020, we see the pregnant lead Madison Lake (Annabelle Wallis) living with her abusive husband in Seattle. After he hits her against a wall, she locks herself in their bedroom alone and falls asleep. But after dreaming of a man violently entering her house, Madison wakes up to find her husband killed. With a police investigation in full swing where she's the prime suspect, Madison has constant mental run-ins with Gabriel where, in a paralyzed state, she witnesses him killing others.

But here's the kicker: Gabriel doesn't just live in her mind figuratively, he's a rent-free resident! He's Madison's secret evil twin who, conjoined back-to-back, manipulated her to harm others by way of sharing the same brain. When Gabriel's shenanigans got a little too dangerous, the doctors tried to separate the pair. But their shared brain meant he couldn't be removed completely, so a sentient piece of him was pushed into Madison's skull and stitched out of view.

What makes him come back 27 years later to exploit her all over again? Madison's head-smash undoing the stitches.

This movie is marketed as a slasher, but it will elicit more laughs than screams. The plot is riddled with hammy dialogues and over-explained imagery like Madison behind literal jail bars to represent her "mental prison."

Malignant ends with the hint of a sequel as Madison gears up to fight Gabriel again. (111 min.) Δ

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