James Wan brings another grisly horror film that follows a similar premise to his previous Saw franchise. His 2021 creation, Malignant, chronicles a vandalized killer on the loose who takes revenge on doctors who tried to kill him as a child. However, the narrative unfolds itself with many psychological and supernatural layers that give an edge to Malignant.
For some viewers, Malignant can be extremely violent, gory, and grisly. Hence please consider the warning before watching the movie.
‘Malignant’ Plot Summary
A prologue scene fables the events of the year 1993. Doctor Florence Weaver, a specialist in child reconstructive surgery tape, records information about her patient Gabriel. She informs the audience about Gabriel’s malicious behavior and his increasing strength and ability. However, before she can conclude the recording, a nurse calls her out in panic. Florence and other doctors in Simion Research Hospital face the wrath of Gabriel’s rage. At this juncture, Florence finds out about psychic powers to control electrical equipment and broadcast his thoughts through them. In fear, Florence decides to “cut out the cancer” and end the problem forever.
Twenty-eight years later, Madison “Maddie” Mitchell (Annabelle Wallis), a pregnant woman, comes home from work after mild labor pain. Her husband, Derek, gets into an argument with Maddie concerning her previous failed miscarriages. The slow argument turns violent, and Derek pushes Maddie against the wall, and her head starts bleeding. While Derek runs to bring some ice, Maddie locks the door from inside to stop Derek from hurting her further. Later, at night, a hideous creature breaks into their house and kills Derek. The killer hunts Maddie, but she locks herself inside a room and hits the floor after that.
Detectives Kekoa Shaw and Regina Moss arrive at the crime and find Derek’s mutilated body. Maddie wakes up in the hospital with her sister, Sydney Lake, by her side, and she isn’t in her senses to answer any of the queries. Regina underlines that there are no signs of forced entry into the house and the involvement of an abusive husband indicates Maddie’s motives to kill him. However, before the detectives can jump to conclusions, the killer on the loose strikes again.
Two weeks later, the creature kidnaps a tour guide, Jane Doe, from the old Seattle area buried underground in the central city. He winds her up in the attic while he hunts down his next target, Doctor Florence Weaver. Before killing Florence, the killer reveals that his name is Gabriel, who was Florence’s patient in Simion Research Hospital. In 1993, Florence and other doctors harmed Gabriel, and thus he came back for retribution. However, as Gabriel slaughters Florence, Maddie envisions the bloodshed from her house. The revelation brings forth some thrilling questions that are duly answered as the film proceeds further.
Who was Emily May?
After Florence’s murder, Maddie envisioned the murders of doctor Victor Fields and doctor John Gregory. Both these doctors aided Florence in harming Gabriel in 1993. Maddie yearned for answers, and thus Gabriel contacted her through his psychic powers. He informed Maddie that her real name was Emily, and she knew her from the past.
Maddie was adopted by Sydney’s parents when she was eight years old, and for some reason, she didn’t remember anything about her life before the adoption. Hence, to find the answers, Maddie visited her adoptive mother and inquired about Gabriel. Sydney’s mother told them that Gabriel was an imaginary friend that Maddie made up when she was a teenager.
Meanwhile, Detective Kekoa Shaw found some pen drives hidden in one of the documents recovered from Florence’s house. He found out Maddie’s real name was Emily May, who was Florence’s patient at the Simion Research Hospital. During her seventh year in the hospital, Emily started exhibiting signs of mental psychosis. She envisioned the devil and heard his thoughts. To plunge deeper into the dark mind of Maddie/Emily, detectives consulted a hypnotherapist to help unlock the repressed memories.
The therapy ended up being a total failure. The detectives were on the verge of concluding Emily, a potential schizophrenic killer, when suddenly, tour guide, Jane Doe, fell from Emily’s attic. Without further ado, the detectives arrested Emily. They recovered a leather coat and an angel dagger from the the attic and thus framed Emily for the murder of three doctors and her husband Derek.
Who was Gabriel?
Sydney refused to believe that her sister, Maddie/Emily, could slaughter people without remorse. Thus, to unravel the mystery further, she visited the closed Simion Research Hospital outside the city. At the shut facility, Sydney procured some of Florence’s research tapes on Emily, and she brought them home to investigate the mystery.
Through the tapes, Sydney found out that Emily’s birth mother, Serena May, was raped at fifteen and got pregnant. Due to an immature pregnancy, she gave birth to abominable parasitic twins, Gabriel and Emily. Hence, Serena’s family compelled her to entrust her children to Simion Hospital.
According to Florence, Gabriel was an extreme version of a teratoma attached to Emily’s body like a tumor, or cancer (as she referred to it in the opening sequence). Gabriel’s body consisted of tissues, hair, teeth, muscles, and bones but shared Emily’s brain for mental functioning. It was why Emily heard voices inside her head.
Gabriel resulted from a phenomenon that occurs when two embryos develop inside a womb but fail to separate during pregnancy. Hence, one twin becomes dominant, while the other remains underdeveloped. The undeveloped Gabriel fed Emily’s body like a parasite and used her as a weapon, taking revenge from the doctors and Derek.
How did Gabriel surface after so many years?
In 1993, when Gabriel went aggressive and hijacked Emily’s body, Florence and another doctor decided to curb the cancerous parasite and end it for Emily’s survival. Florence, Dr. Fields, and Dr. Gregory excised the teratoma (Gabriel) conjoined to Emily’s brain. They removed whatever part they could remove and suppressed the rest inside Emily’s skull. Hence, the problem wasn’t terminated from the roots, and it was bound to retort.
In the second sequence, when Emily’s husband, Derek, pushed her against the wall, the injury awakened Gabriel, and the rest is history. According to Sydney, Gabriel killed Emily’s babies inside her womb as he was feeding off her fetuses to build him back like a parasite. For this reason, during the climax sequence, Gabriel cracked open Emily’s skull and surfaced from the juncture.
‘Malignant’ Ending, Explained
Up until now, it was clearly ascertained that Gabriel was not a separate entity. He was a parasite living inside Emily’s body. He used the body to seek retribution from all the people who either tried to harm him, suppress him or disown him. Gabriel was controlling Emily’s mind. Thus, she happened to envision the murders committed by Gabriel (or her body, to be precise) and thus often ended up in strange places with no memory of the incident.
By the end of Malignant, Gabriel had already killed the doctors who curbed him inside Emily’s skull. His last two targets were Emily’s sister, Sydney, and Gabriel’s mother, Serena May.
It was revealed that the tour guide, Jane Doe, was Serena May, and was living under a pseudonym, for unknown reasons. Gabriel kidnapped Serena in the beginning and kept her alive so that she could witness the monster she created by disowning her own children.
Gabriel arrived at the hospital to kill his mother and Sydney. In a brawl, Gabriel stabbed Detective Kekoa with his angel dagger on his shoulder. However, he probably would have survived the blow.
Gabriel took Kekoa’s gun and tried to shoot Sydney, but at the crucial moment, Emily took charge of her body and brain and trapped him inside her mind prison. Gabriel swore that he would return again, but Emily courageously confronted the threats and declared that she would be ready for him. In the end, Emily accepted that all her life, she yearned for blood relations, yet her bond with Sydney was more potent than the blood, and she would never stop loving her.
‘Malignant’ Sequel Possibility
Before the screen faded out, a bulb in the hospital buzzed that marked the presence of Gabriel and his psychic powers. The reasons why Gabriel had these powers were not revealed until the end, and maybe the creators held back this crucial information for a sequel film, Malignant 2.
Malignant is a 2021 Drama Horror Film directed by James Wan.