What Malignant’s Dividing Twist Really Means
James Wan Malignant’s new horror flick, an ode to ’80s and’ 90s horror flicks, is reinforced by an incredibly well-crafted twist.
James Wan’s horror films have always elicited some degree of surprise, but never on the scale of Smart – whose twisted ending is one of the many stylistic flourishes that make the film a brilliant addition to its canon. Wan’s career began when he took the horror genre in a more exploitative direction with the original. Seen, and since then his filmography has oscillated between classic vehicles of terror such as Insidious and Conspiracy, as well as larger-than-life blockbuster adventures like Fast and Furious 7 and 2018 Aquaman. After plunging his toes back into the horror genre for Smart, Wan will bounce back into the world of superheroes and underwater realms with Aquaman and the lost kingdom, which promises a new costume for Aquaman himself, new locations and new threats await the King of Atlantis.
But even with other projects on the horizon, Smart deserves all the praise it is currently receiving, as it is clear that this was a passionate project with a singular vision of Wan. Heavily inspired by classic horror eras (including candy-colored ’70s giallos, grotesque slashers and body horror films from the’ 80s, and the high octane horror thrillers of the late 1990s and early 2000s), Smart follows Madison Mitchell, a young woman and mother-to-be who begins to have disturbingly realistic visions of a gloved killer committing murders, before realizing that her visions aren’t really visions. The film is a pure delight for horror fans, and even people who are not big on the genre can find something to enjoy in the technical craftsmanship of the film.
However, the horror movie-inspired twist in Smart completely re-contextualizes everything that comes before it and forces the audience to look at our protagonist and his circumstances in a radically different light. James Wan has always been fortunate enough to make shocking revelations in his films, and with Smart maybe he just wrote his best.
Why the Malignant twist is so controversial
At the start of the film, Madison is trapped in an abusive relationship with a boyfriend who is horribly murdered by a dark apparition, the one audiences eventually find out is called “Gabriel”. Gabriel continues to kidnap a seemingly random woman and murders several former doctors at an abandoned children’s health facility, while taunting Madison about her forgotten past and her imaginary former friend who shares her name. It is only when this kidnapped woman falls from Madison’s attic and is arrested for her connection to the murders that the truth about parasitic twin Gabriel slowly emerges: Gabriel is not Madison’s imaginary friend, c ‘is a born twin tied to the back. from her head and was forcibly removed by staff at the Children’s Hospital where Madison was abandoned when they were born. After a particularly nasty attack from her ex-boyfriend, Gabriel was woken up again and kidnapped their birth mother before embarking on a killing spree using Madison’s body as a vehicle.
While many horror fans fell in love with the twist and its elaborate execution, many were put off by the film’s sudden leap into another sub-genre. A lesser film would be accused of jumping the shark, and this shocking revelation sparked many divisions regarding the reception of the film. Some people see it as an ode to the visceral twists and turns of horror legends like Brian de Palma and David Cronenberg, while others see it as a huge dud and plot development that feels like it’s stepping out of the box. left field.
The Twist is perfectly configured
The twists and turns in movies generally range from shocking yet satisfying to woefully underdeveloped, and the main reason is the way a filmmaker sets up his pockets. Pockets refer to exhibition pieces and storytelling devices that prepare both characters and audience for a twist later in a movie. Best twists ever used, from the fact that Norman Bates’ mother is never seen onscreen, to George Taylor’s silly assumption that he landed on another planet in the original. Planet of the Apes. Pockets are how you provide audiences with subtle seeds that not all is what it seems, and without them you leave viewers in the dark as to whether a startling reveal awaits them at the end. of their experience.
Smart provides clues about the twist skillfully and without overestimating their importance. The film opens with a scene that looks like it came straight out of a sci-fi movie, with a team of scientists and medics attacked by a horrific creature that we later find out is actually Gabriel attached to Madison. The first time we properly meet Madison, we see her getting attacked by her boyfriend, and at first glance it looks like a character and relationship setup, but in reality, this is the event that inadvertently wakes up. Gabriel. The film also tells us that Madison had three miscarriages, a plot point that comes full circle later when Madison’s foster sister, Sydney, reveals to her that her miscarriages were the result of Gabriel feeding on her. his sister to maintain herself. While the turn of this cult film is certainly a shock, it lands well as it has been reinforced by all the writing that came before it, and even by subtle technical clues like the way “Gabriel” walks and runs during. set pieces.
He kisses the horror genre camp
Now more than ever, the horror genre is experiencing a rebirth on screen (driven by films like Hereditary, The Witch, and even new releases like this year The night house and Candy) that seeks to juxtapose supernatural and otherworldly terrors with everyday horrors such as grief and institutional oppression. While horror has always explored social commentary, what sets this new wave apart is a sense of grounding – they feel serious and take themselves seriously. And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, the horror films of the 1970s and 1980s reveled in a camp feeling; the movies were violent and scary, but they were also over the top and over the top in a way that befitted the genre. Compare a movie like the original Suspiria to its 2018 remake: Both are good movies, but only the original embraces the country side of the horror genre.
Smart twist works because the whole movie is soaked in camp – from bombastic lighting installations to clenched-fisted performances, everything in the movie is designed to sound bizarre and almost dreamlike. Even the film’s soundtrack seems ironic, as if James Wan wants his audiences to understand that the film is also meant to be fun while being terrifying. Gabriel’s reveal would be implausible in another more serious horror film, but here it manages to shock viewers while also fitting in perfectly with the elevated world that has already been laid out for audiences. In a world where people often complain that Hollywood is running out of original ideas, Smart twist manages to honor the horror classics that came before it, while also standing out as a rare example of true visionary cinema and stylistic integrity.
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