With Halloween season on the horizon, horror fans will be bracing themselves for a host of upcoming scary features. Popular franchises including Halloween, Resident Evil, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Jeepers Creepers are all expected to release new sequels before the end of the year. But Before that, fans will look to another director who is growing in prestige within the genre, James Wan, and his latest film Malignant.
Malignant harkens back to horror classics like Rosemary’s Baby whilst also seemingly taking influence from recent hits like The Babadook and Hereditary. Not to mentions Wan’s own previous work in The Conjuring and Insidious series. We have a new clip from the movie that proves why James Wan is a master of suspense and one of today’s greatest horror directors.
The story centres around Madison (Annabelle Wallis), who is tormented by shocking visions of gruesome murders. The situation gets more sinister and perilous as she begins to discover they may be more than just waking dreams and is forced to confront the reality of it. The isolated protagonist and small cast is a popular trope in modern horror flicks and Wan looks to make full use of it based on the trailers we’ve already seen.
To bait fans even further Warner Bros. recently released an extended clip from within the movie extrapolating out some of the imagery already shown off in the trailer. The scene really showcases Wan’s mastery of suspenseful horror as the sequence builds to a terrifying stillness.
The scene starts with Madison seemingly being stared down by some glowing eyes in the darkness. But as she approaches it is revealed to just be the moonlight reflecting off an open door which she promptly closes. The door ajar is another well-trodden horror technique, leaving the audience to dread who or what has been let in and Wan subverts the trope wonderfully by bringing the tension up, back down and sharply up again.
Once closed the lone figure backs away from the door but is soon startled as she hears a soft knocking within her house accompanied by the eerie howling sound of the wind. The use of sound and the slow increase in non-diegetic music gets the heart pounding straight away, right there with the terrified Madison. At which point the door bursts open again violently and the music ratchets up even further as the protagonist flees through her house.
The tracking shot from above helps express her isolation, as well as stylising the chase sequence nicely, although the audience never actually sees anything chasing Madison. The sequence ends with her slamming the door shut and locking herself in her bedroom before repeating quietly to herself “there’s nobody there” and “it’s all in my head”. At this point, the music drops out entirely leaving an eerie silence hanging over the scene, making the audience clench themselves for a jump scare.
Once again nothing arrives in this particular scene with the clip simply fading to black perhaps saving all the best reveals for the actual film. The 67-second clip is incredibly tense and unnerving and if it’s any reflection of the finished film, horror fans are in for a treat. Maddie Hasson, Mckenna Grace, Jake Abel, George Young and Ingrid Bisu round out the principal cast with Malignant arriving in theatres on September 10th.