James Wan’s latest horror entry scares you without the jumps.

As you begin to watch James Wan’s “Malignant,” you start to think it’s going to rip off “Poltergeist” with a TV static, “Rosemary’s Baby” when the main heroine has miscarriages,” and the “Paranormal Activity” series with its evil imaginary friend, or fiend in that case. But as you continue to watch it, you find out it’s a whole lot more than that.

It’s a jumpscare that cuts back on the jumps and more on the scares. In fact, there’s a truth inside the terror that really keeps you involved. In this particular genre of recent memory, “The Curse of La Llorona” was idiotic, “The Nun” was dull, and “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” was a missed opportunity of a threequel. “Malignant” does have its flaws, but it’s miles better than those debacles.

We meet Madison Mitchell (Annabelle Wallis), who has suffered from two miscarriages in the past, and now has suffered another one when an evil force kills her abusive husband (Jack Abel) and attacks her. Following this horrific experience, she begins to this sinister force killing more people. He calls himself Gabriel, and he knows her.

When the girl decides to remain in the house that partly ruined her life, you think she’s making a stupid mistake by staying there, but as you continue to watch it, you realize her life was already ruined, and the evil follows her.

And when the demon runs from the police, you see him in the dark with long hair, and it might remind some people about how brilliant the first “Sinister” was, because somehow, he nearly resembles that killer.

The only people she can talk to about her current nightmare are her would-be actress adoptive sister (Maddie Hasson), who immediately believes her, and two detectives (George Young and Michole Briana White), who beg to differ. I mean, how could the law understand her turmoil? The police live in reality.

As they continue to get Madison’s story straight, even she discovers who she really is and who Gabriel really is, and we all discover how shockingly evil the story is.

Wallis delivers quite well as a woman haunted by the evils of her past and present, and her convictions and fears distinguish the actress from her previous horror entries (from “Annabelle to “The Mummy”). And Hasson also has some funny moments, regarding her would-be acting career, and she also has her tender moments. In fact, she doesn’t tell her adoptive sister to see a doctor, regarding the visions. It would have been too exhausting if they went in that routine direction.

“Malignant” is directed by Wan with a similar style as “Insidious” and “The Conjuring,” when its scenes look dark and creepy, and when its eery music (composed by Joseph Bishara) drives your senses. And like those entries, this one will do anything to keep the audience involved, even if there are hecklers saying: “Are you kidding me?” or “Are you stupid?” or “Let’s get crazy in the hallways,” and so forth. I’ve been so bored by these recent jumpscares, that I get annoyed when moviegoers make them Number 1 box office hits when there were so many better movies to see. “Malignant” isn’t perfect, because of how it has to be ridiculous at times, but it doesn’t try as hard as those horror flicks do.

Horror moths are what I like to call these particular movie-goers, and I think they’ll be able to see “Malignant” in a different light. I sure did.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

In Theaters and Streaming on HBO Max

Categories: Crime, Horror, Mystery, Thriller

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