James Wan has made a name for himself as a filmmaker who can deliver a box office hit, with blockbusters like Furious 7 and Aquaman on his resume, but the Saw director never lost sight of his horror roots. He’s the man behind a handful of today’s most popular horror franchises, including Insidious and The Conjuring, and he’s about to dig back into his past with Malignant. You can watch the trailer above.
Malignant follows a woman (Annabelle Wallis) who suddenly begins seeing terrible visions of brutal deaths and must delve into her own past to make sense of what she’s seeing. From those few short minutes in the preview above, it’s easy to see why Wan is calling it a return to his “more gritty, rough thriller roots,” as he told IGN.
The timing of Malignant was intentional for Wan: It’s coming right in between his blockbuster hit Aquaman (2018) and that film’s upcoming sequel, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, which is due out in 2022.
“I wanted to make a movie in between those two giant films, which, just something smaller, more intimate, and really harken back to the style of filmmaking or the kind of films that excited me when I was when much younger, when I was a teen growing up, idolizing filmmakers like [Brian] De Palma, [Dario] Argento, and all that. I just thought, ‘When am I ever going to get the chance to do a film like this ever again? Now is the time for me to use this opportunity to make the kind of movies that I don’t think really get made at this level anymore.’ And so it really came from the want to just make a hark back, a throwback kind of film. And this was just a story that I came about that really fit that desire.”
While Wan is keeping pretty tight-lipped about what the movie is about, he did tell IGN, “I’m a big fan of titles that have multiple meanings to it. And with Saw, we felt there’s one part of that that obviously refers to the visceral aspect of a tool, but at the same time, it touched a bit on what the voyeuristic aspect of the film was as well. And so with Malignant, I just felt like this title really encompasses the tone of the film, the subject matter, which actually has a fair bit of medical horror attached to it. So it just felt appropriate.”
Malignant comes out in theaters and on HBO Max on September 10.