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The New Malignant Trailer Focuses on Its Superstar Filmmaker

Saw, Insidious, and Conjuring director James Wan stars in this trailer for his latest horror film.

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A frightened woman sits on the floor of a dark kitchen in James Wan's new horror movie, Malignant.
Annabelle Wallis stars in Malignant.
Photo: Warner Bros.

It’s not every day a trailer features an interview with the director, but it’s not every day the film’s director is the biggest selling point of a movie. James Wan is at the helm of the upcoming horror film Malignant, and he’s the guy who first brought us Saw, Insidious, and The Conjuring. Each of those started as original horror films and then quickly became major franchises. The thought with Malignant seems to be “This is the next one,” and putting Wan front and center sells that.

Malignant stars Annabelle Wallis (The Mummy, Annabelle) as Madison, a woman who has violent visions that are somehow tied to her childhood imaginary friend, Gabriel. And really, we don’t know much more than that, which is exciting, because there has to be more—which you get a glimpse of, as well as some commentary provided by Wan, in this latest and probably final trailer.

Using Wan to promote this film is a smart move. He’s a proven commodity, not just in horror, but in other genres as well (he also did Furious 7 and Aquaman, and is currently working on Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.) When people see the name “James Wan” it has become synonymous with originality in horror and scope in blockbusters. Malignant could have a bit of both, as evidenced by the second half of this trailer which has a lot of very effective overhead shots, complicated camera moves and quick glimpses of a powerful, evil presence.


What I like most about Wan’s horror films, besides the scares and gore, are that each one sets the stage for a much larger world. In Saw, that was Jigsaw. In Insidious, that was the Further. And in The Conjuring, it’s just the nature of the Warrens’ work as paranormal investigators. Each film offers a contained, satisfying story with loads to explore in the future if possible. Watching the Malignant trailer I’d venture to guess that’s the case here too, but I can’t exactly tell what about it is bigger than the story itself. I’m excited to find out and I won’t have to wait long: Malignant opens next week, September 10, both in theaters and on HBO Max, where it’ll live for a month.

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