‘Malignant’: Will the ‘Saw’ franchise ever end?
James Wan is the star of the new trailer for his upcoming horror movie Malignant.
It is unusual for a director to be front & center in the promotional material for a new film, however, with a track record like Wan’s, it makes a lot of sense. Wan created some of the most successful horror franchises of the last twenty years.
Wan, along with Leigh Whannell, created the first Saw movie which has since spawned nine sequels. His films Insidious & The Conjuring also spawned successful franchises. While Wan has moved on to doing significantly higher profile & budget studio films like Aquaman, his next film is a homecoming back to his horror roots.
James Wan’s Malignant is an original horror thriller that is coming out in theaters & on HBO Max on September 10. The new movie stars Annabelle Wallis as Madison, a woman who has terrifying nightmares of grisly murders. When she wakes, she discovers that her visions are actually reality. Madison begins to investigate the gruesome events and believes they may be connected to Gabriel, an imaginary friend from her childhood.
HBO Max released a new trailer for the movie that features clips of an interview with Wan. It makes sense to use Wan’s proven track record as a selling point for the film while saving much of the film’s scares for the first viewing. Wan stressed that Malignant was the start of something new. “I think audiences are starved for something that is new and different”, Wan said.
While his new movie is an original story, written by Wan with his wife Ingrid Bisu & screenwriter Akela Cooper, it does seem to be a return to form for him. One brief shot in the trailer shows a gloved figure sharpening a blade that would not be out of place in a Saw movie. Additionally, supernatural elements look similar to some of the chilling scares in The Conjuring.
The trailer also featured some of the complicated camerawork & overhead shots that have become a trademark for Wan’s films. Malignant also stars Maddie Hasson, George Young, Michole Briana White, Jacqueline KcKenzie, Ingrid Bisu, Paula Marshall, and Jake Abel.
The Book of Saw
The first Saw movie really put James Wan on the map. The film was shot for a miniscule $1.2 million and ended up grossing $103 million world wide. Though the gory movie turned some critics off, others praised Saw, comparing it to early David Fincher films like Se7en. Wan left the director’s seat for the sequels but remained as an executive producer.
In 2010, it appeared that after nearly a decade of increasingly complicated torture devices & twist endings, the Saw franchise would come to an end with Saw 3D. The Jigsaw killer came back from the dead with 2017’s Jigsaw. Many speculated that the new film would be a reboot for the franchise, however, the movie turned out to be a continuation of the original seven film’s story.
Spiral: From the Book of Saw, Chris Rock’s chilling vision for the franchise, had it’s release delayed by nearly a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Envisioned as a major revitalization of the franchise, Spiral falls short of that lofty goal. The film has a promising start but falls apart because the central mystery is, unfortunately, not that compelling.
Spiral made $8.8 million it’s opening weekend, topping the box office. Though many theaters were struggling with reopening in the face of the surging delta variant of COVID-19, this showing was still a disappointment. In spite of this poor showing, Lionsgate appears to be developing a tenth film in the franchise.
Spiral director & series veteran Darren Lynn Bousman said that the announcement was premature. He also suggested that the next film could be a direct sequel to Jigsaw. It seems unlikely that Lionsgate will ever stop making Saw films as they are typically made for relatively cheap compared to their box office earning power.
Are you looking forward to James Wan’s Malignant? Are you going to see it in theaters or on HBO Max? Let us know in the comments!