Written and directed by Brian Avenet-Bradley
Allex has a problem. Several problems really. His beloved wife has just died. He can’t manage to keep it together to hang on to his dead end job. And he drinks. Allex drinks…a lot…and this is the reason he becomes the subject of a very strange and violent experiment.
Fondly reminiscent of the Stephen King story “Quitters, Inc.,” which involved a man trying to quit smoking, Malignant is a look into the life of Allex, who has an experiment to fight the clutches of alcoholism thrust upon him. And that’s the most difficult part for him, that he has no choice in the matter. Allex has no desire to be the subject of an experiment to quit drinking. Without his wife and no real career to focus on, drinking seems to be the most enjoyable part of his life. But when a mysterious man appears and suddenly people start showing up dead, Allex has to figure out just what the hell is going on.
Malignant is an okay movie. It plays to its strengths. The film features legendary actor Brad Dourif and uses him very well. It has a number of decent effects and does them nicely. They are not blow-you-out-of-your-seat gags, but they work, and director Avenet-Bradley is keen enough to give you a quick look at the carnage. So much more fulfilling than a cutaway. Avenet-Bradley gives you just enough exposure to gore to satisfy without keeping the camera on it long enough for any imperfections to become apparent. Nice job there.
The movie is basically a continuous face-off between Allex (played by Gary Cairns) and the mysterious man (Dourif). Through the man’s manipulations Allex continues to find himself in increasingly horrible situations, eventually coming to a head with an impressive showdown between the two where Dourif really lets his creepy side show.
Despite its perfectly horrific title, you’ll find Malignant to be a bit more of a mysterious thriller with moments of gore thrown in. Dourif carries the film when he’s onscreen, but unfortunately Cairns doesn’t have the charisma of his co-star, and his scenes are (as would be expected) a bit weaker. There is a noticeable imbalance between the two performers, and this is a common pitfall with indie films that are able to bring in one or two big actors, which are great names to have on the marquee but tend to throw off the curve for the rest of the cast. The story is simple with a somewhat predictable ending, but there’s enough curiosity generated throughout to keep viewers involved.
Malignant is decent. The casting of Brad Dourif as a maniacal scientist was a brilliant move that took a movie that might have been a throwaway and elevated it to at least a satisfactory level. Aside from Dourif, nothing really stands out as incredibly impressive, but Malignant, as a whole, does enough to keep you interested. Worth a look if you happen to stumble upon it.
2 1/2 out of 5