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Starring: Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young, Michole Briana White, Jacqueline McKenzie, Jake Abel, Ingrid Bisu, Mckenna Grace
OUR RATING: ★★★½
Horror thriller directed by James Wan. Malignant (2021) follows Madison (Annabelle Wallis), who is is paralyzed by shocking visions of grisly murders, and her torment worsens as she discovers that these waking dreams are in fact terrifying realities.
Dr. Florence Weaver: [old journal footage] So, it’s becoming more apparent that not only is Gabriel getting stronger, he’s becoming more malicious. If his strength and ability continue to grow at this rate, we will no longer be able to contain him.
Dr. Florence Weaver: You’ve been a bad, bad boy, Gabriel.
Gabriel: [through the radio] I will kill you all.
Dr. Florence Weaver: Oh, my God.
Dr. Victor Fields: He speaks. He’s broadcasting his thoughts.
Dr. Florence Weaver: I thought we could help him, but I was wrong. It’s time we cut out the cancer.
CST Winnie: [referring to Derek’s murder] I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Maybe from a vehicular accident, but not this. This is something special.
Madison Mitchell: I was so scared. Scared for my baby. Where is she? Where is she, Syd? Where is she?
Sydney Lake: I’m so sorry, Maddy. They couldn’t save her.
Regina Moss: [referring to Derek’s murder] No fingerprints, but all the hand patterns are upside down. Like our perp was hanging from the ceiling.
Kekoa Shaw: That line up with anything from forensics?
Regina Moss: No footprints on the ceiling, if that’s what you mean.
Regina Moss: No forced entry. An abusive husband. Motive.
Madison Mitchell: There’s nobody there. There’s no one there. It’s all in my head. It’s all in my head. There’s no one there. It’s all in my head.
Madison Mitchell: [referring to the crack in the wall] Derek did that. He smashed my head against the wall.
Sydney Lake: What? I’m so sorry, Maddy. Nobody deserves to die that way, but seriously, f*** him. You deserve so much better.
Madison Mitchell: I thought about it a lot, about leaving him. By the time I got the courage, I got pregnant. Now, if only I’d been able to have a baby.
Sydney Lake: Don’t do that. This is not your fault.
Madison Mitchell: That’s not what I’m saying. I wanted to know what it felt like to have a blood connection with someone. A biological connection.
Sydney Lake: Maddy, what are you talking about?
Madison Mitchell: Mom and dad took me in when I was eight. I don’t remember anything before that. Mom told me that my biological mother died during my birth. Sydney, I’m adopted.
Gabriel: [through the radio] I can’t tell you how long I’ve waited for this. But not yet. First, Dr. Weaver.
Gabriel: Time to cut out the cancer.
Dr. Florence Weaver: Oh, God. No. It’s not possible.
Dr. Florence Weaver: What do you want from me?
Gabriel: To show you what the cancer has become!
CST Winnie: He killed her with one of her trophies. We just got the base. The top half is missing.
Kekoa Shaw: The brutality seems consistent with our other corpse. Same guy?
CST Winnie: That would be my bet.
Kekoa Shaw: We need to find that missing half.
CST Winnie: Yeah, don’t we all.
Sydney Lake: [referring to Weaver] Did you know her?
Madison Mitchell: No. No. But I saw her die. I don’t know how. I was doing laundry, and I saw him killing her. It was him. It was him.
Sydney Lake: Him? Him, like the guy that attacked you?
Madison Mitchell: Yes.
Madison Mitchell: I saw him murdering her in her house. And it was like I was there, and here at the same time. What is happening to me, Syd?
Madison Mitchell: I wasn’t dreaming. I saw him. I saw him. He killed again, but this time I saw his face. I saw his face.
Madison Mitchell: Somehow I’m seeing his murders, like he’s showing them to me.
Regina Moss: What do you mean? He’s sending you videos?
Madison Mitchell: No, goddamn it! I see them as they’re happening. Like I’m having visions. I know how that sounds.
Sydney Lake: Okay, maybe, when the killer attacked Madison, they formed like some kind of, like a psychic bond. I mean, you guys consult psychics for like missing persons cases, right?
Regina Moss: No, we don’t.
Sydney Lake: I played a psychic in an episode of a cop show, and they said it’s a real thing.
Regina Moss: Are we really having this conversation?
Sydney Lake: Listen, Madison saw Dr. Weaver die as it happened, and now she says she’s seen this one. So let’s go look. If she’s wrong, you can have her committed, and you can put the cuffs on me.
Kekoa Shaw: What?
Regina Moss: I see you.
Kekoa Shaw: What? They gave us a lead.
Regina Moss: Cute little actress throw you a ball, and you gone chasing like a dog.
Kekoa Shaw: What was that?
Regina Moss: Nothing.
Gabriel: [over phone] Hello, Emily.
Madison Mitchell: My name is Madison.
Gabriel: Your fake mother gave you the name Madison. Your s**tty marriage gave you the name Mitchell. But you’ll always be Emily to me.
Madison Mitchell: Who are you?
Gabriel: You know who I am. Even if they say I’m only in your head.
Madison Mitchell: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Gabriel: You let them tell you I wasn’t real, that I was just a voice. And you believed them. Now, I’m going to make them pay for what they did. One by one.
Madison Mitchell: Gabriel, no!
Gabriel: See? Deep down, you’ve always known.
Madison Mitchell: Please stop. Please.
Gabriel: Oh, we are just getting started.
Madison Mitchell: His name is Gabriel. I don’t know how I knew, but talking to him, I just did. He’s someone from my past. From before I could remember.
Madison Mitchell: Mom, I need you to remember. During the adoption, did they say if I had a brother, or anything?
Jeanne: No. The only thing they would say is if there were siblings, they try to place them in the same family.
Madison Mitchell: Then who the hell is Gabriel?
Sydney Lake: Mom? Mom, what do you know?
Jeanne: [Madison’s watching an old footage of her birthday] Maddy, who are you talking to?
Young Madison: No one.
Frank: Maddy? Maddy, what did we say about lying?
Young Madison: I wasn’t.
Jeanne: Well, then who were you talking to?
Young Madison: Gabriel.
Jeanne: Is he your imaginary friend?
Young Madison: Gabriel isn’t made up. He says that you are. He says you’re not my real family.
Jeanne: Some of the conversations you had with Gabriel just chilled us to the bone.
Madison Mitchell: Wait, so Gabriel was something that I made up?
Jeanne: Whatever you went through before you joined our family, it hurt you in a way that I can’t even imagine. I always figured you created Gabriel so that you could survive that. We thought if we gave you enough love, you wouldn’t need him anymore. I hope we weren’t wrong.
Dr. Florence Weaver: [Kekoa watches Weaver’s journal footage] Thursday, July 23rd, 1992. Today marks the seventh year since Emily May was entrusted into our care. She remains unlike any test subject we have ever encountered here at the clinic. Though in recent months, Emily started exhibiting signs of mental psychosis. She says she’s seeing visions, and hearing thoughts from the Devil. I’ve contacted Dr. John Gregory out at Hopkins, as well as Dr. Victor Fields from the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital, just to help determine a course of action.
Kekoa Shaw: All three victims were involved in the same case study they called Patient May. You were the case study. They were your doctors.
Madison Mitchell: I’m sorry. It’s all blank before Sydney’s parents adopted me.
Kekoa Shaw: Madison, the department works with a hypnotherapist that helps unlock repressed memories. Trauma, sexual abuse, PTSD. Would you be willing to see one?
Sydney Lake: I knew it.
Regina Moss: She’s not a psychic, goddamn it.
Madison Mitchell: [under hypnosis] But he’s here too. Gabriel. He followed me home from the hospital.
Beverly Woods: Who is Gabriel? Is he a friend?
Madison Mitchell: He says he is, but I’m the only one that can see him.
Madison Mitchell: When he does something bad, I’m the one that gets in trouble.
Madison Mitchell: I remember now. It’s happened before, waking up in strange places, seeing things. I don’t know how, but Gabriel wanted to…
Kekoa Shaw: What did he want, Madison?
Madison Mitchell: [referring to Sydney] To hurt the baby. It’s as if he knew that with you here. I wouldn’t need him anymore. And he was right. He became a lost memory, buried deep in the back of my head, until now.
Madison Mitchell: The killer said he was Gabriel. My Gabriel.
Regina Moss: Wait, are you saying that the killer is your imaginary friend?
Regina Moss: You got the murder weapon, the coat, the gloves, and Jeffrey Dahmer’s workshop in your attic. It’s over, Madison.
Madison Mitchell: It was Gabriel. He got into my house. He’s done it before.
Regina Moss: Enough with the bogeyman story!
Madison Mitchell: Please, Kekoa. Please. You’ve seen him. You know that it’s not me.
Regina Moss: Let me tell you what I think. You were sick in the head when you were young. Those doctors helped you. It worked for a while. But now your sickness is back, and you blame them for f***ing you up.
Madison Mitchell: No. No. It’s not me.
Regina Moss: Stop lying to us.
Madison Mitchell: I’m telling the f***ing truth!
Madison Mitchell: [as Shaw’s phone stars vibrating] He wants to talk to you.
Regina Moss: You have got to be kidding me.
Kekoa Shaw: [over phone] Who am I talking to?
Gabriel: You know who I am. You found me.
Kekoa Shaw: I didn’t find you soon enough.
Gabriel: But you found my things. I want them back.
Kekoa Shaw: Why was your stuff in her attic, hmm? You trying to incriminate her?
Gabriel: Dumb b**ch didn’t even know I was nesting in her home.
Kekoa Shaw: Is all this personal?
Gabriel: If my blade had punched a hole in your face last night, would that have been personal?
Kekoa Shaw: Who are you, Gabriel?
Gabriel: Oh, I thought she had already told you. I’m a figment of her imagination. Ask her what she used to call me.
Madison Mitchell: The Devil.
Young Serena: [old footage of Madison’s mother] Mama won’t help me. She called my pregnancy a transgression against God. I don’t know how to look after them on my own.
Young Serena: He’s an abomination. I don’t know what else to do, Doctor. Please look after Emily.
Jeanne: [referring to Serena] They told me that she died while giving birth! Those lying c**k-knockers.
Young Madison: He’s been telling me to do things. Bad things. To hurt people.
Young Madison: Gabriel makes me strong. He told me to kill Bobby.
Dr. Florence Weaver: He actually said those words?
Young Madison: Sometimes he speaks words, and other times, the words are in my head. And then they aren’t really words anymore. Just feelings. But I knew what he wanted me to do. He pretends to be nice. But he’s the Devil.
Dr. Florence Weaver: So what exactly is Gabriel? Gabriel is an extreme version of a teratoma. A tumor consisting of tissues, hair, teeth, muscles, bones. But more specifically, in this case, it’s a parasitic twin. When two embryos develop in the womb don’t separate like they should, one twin is dominant, while the other is underdeveloped. It’s not considered conjoined because the underdeveloped twin is dependent on the body of the other. Like a parasite, Gabriel feeds off Emily.
Dr. Florence Weaver: We’re starting to suspect that Gabriel can somehow access the region to the brain that process visual stimuli, and make Emily see what he wants her to see. This would explain her recent claims of hallucinations and waking dreams.
Dr. Victor Fields: Because they literally share the same brain, I think he’s able to trick her mind and make her think she’s living her life as usual. Essentially, placing her in a mental prison. When in reality, Gabriel has hijacked her body and is using it himself.
Dr. Florence Weaver: It’s time to cut out the cancer. Gabriel’s parasitic nature has increased significantly as he’s now siphoning more fluids and nutrients, resulting in severe weight loss. So Dr. Fields, Dr. Gregory, and myself have concluded, the only way to save Emily is to excise the teratoma. Now, Gabriel is conjoined at the brain, so full removal could kill Emily, or result in permanent brain damage. Course of action would be to remove what we can and suppress the rest into her skull.
Sydney Lake: Gabriel is inside of Madison. He’s been using her this whole time. He’s been controlling her body like a puppet.
Sydney Lake: She was born with a parasitic twin. Gabriel has been dormant all of these years. When Derek smashed Madison’s head against the wall, it woke Gabriel up.
Sydney Lake: Madison’s birth mother is still alive, Keh. They lied.
Kekoa Shaw: I know. She’s the woman who fell out of Madison’s attic. We sent her to Seattle Medical.
Sydney Lake: Are you kidding me? We have to talk to her. She’s the only person left alive who knows anything.
Gabriel: [to Sydney] I was saving you for last.
Gabriel: [to Sydney] She chose you over me! Her own flesh and blood! I should have killed you before you were born!
Serena: Gabriel. Please forgive me. I should never have given you away. You were my son. And I should have loved you, no matter what.
Gabriel: Shoot me!
Sydney Lake: Madison, I know you’re in there.
Gabriel: And kill her.
Sydney Lake: What did you do to my sister?
Gabriel: She’s not your sister!
Sydney Lake: Maddy, I know you can hear me. You have to fight him!
Gabriel: Madison’s not home.
Sydney Lake: Madison, he killed your babies! He was the cause of your miscarriages. He was feeding off of your fetuses to build himself back up! Maddy, please, please come back.
Gabriel: [to Serena] I wanted you to see what you made me.
Gabriel: A monster.
Madison Mitchell: No, Gabriel. You were always a monster.
Madison Mitchell: Now, I can do all the mind tricks you can.
Gabriel: [realizes Madison made him believe he killed Serena and Sydney] No. Not possible!
Madison Mitchell: Did you forget we share the same brain?
Gabriel: I didn’t ask to be tethered to you. You don’t deserve your body. I can use it better than you.
Madison Mitchell: Not anymore. You don’t get to control me ever again. It’s over, Gabriel. I’m taking it all back. My mind, my body, my everything. Now, you get to live in a world that I create.
Gabriel: [as Madison lock him away in her mind] You can’t lock me in here forever. You’ll always be stuck with me! Sooner or later I will get out.
Madison Mitchell: I know, but next time I’ll be ready for you.
Madison Mitchell: It was always my body. If he was strong enough to do this, then so am I.
Madison Mitchell: [to Sydney] All my life, I’ve yearned for a blood connection with someone. Yet in the end, it was right in front of me all along. Blood or not, you will always be my sister. And I will always love you.