Director James Wan returns to his roots with this new original horror thriller. A woman is paralyzed by shocking visions of grisly murders, and her torment worsens as she discovers that these waking dreams are in fact terrifying realities.
For in-depth thoughts on Malignant, please see my colleague Dom Fisher’s review from its original theatrical release here.
What a difference half a year makes…back in November 2021, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment released Malignant on Blu-Ray and opted not to provide a 4K UHD Blu-Ray option for fans, which disappointed us quite a bit. Apparently our objections were heard because the company decided to give fans what they have been clamoring for ever since! The new 4K UHD Blu-Ray of Malignant offers a fetching uptick in quality over the already incredible accompanying Blu-Ray, making it the clear choice between the two home video releases. The biggest gains come from the contrast and color. Numerous sequences in the film take place in the cover of darkness, and on this disc they are more vivid and finely delineated. The black levels are especially strong in this presentation, staying deep and inky with great detail. The few instances of compression artifacts and banding present on the Blu-Ray are eliminated with this 4K UHD disc. The highlights in the film are likewise more defined with whites more pure and balanced with no instances of blooming to be found.
This 4K UHD presentation goes all in with strong gains in clarity in every frame. There is some really cool production design and gnarly makeup effects featured in the film which you can really appreciate with this transfer. Every location with nuanced lighting is handled with the precision of a expertly authored disc. Skin tones appear more natural with healthy doses of crisp detail apparent on faces such as pores and even blood. The increased range of the color spectrum is stunning to behold. The HDR enriches the colors from already impressive to truly stunning when it comes to nuance and depth. Director James Wan pays homage to giallo masters like Dario Argento with bold color schemes that radiate off the screen. The Blu-Ray is great, but Warner Bros. has delivered another fantastic transfer on this latest 4K release and we thank them for it.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is extremely engaging, and it never fails to deliver something truly stellar. It may only be viewed as a disappointment when compared to what we could have had with a Dolby Atmos presentation. The soundscape on display here is very rich with a nuanced design from the varied settings. This film is mostly suspenseful with horrific revelations driving the narrative, but there are moments where certain kinetic sequences arise to provide a boost to the proceedings. The instances of gunfire in the film pack a punch that you will not soon forget. The unsettling score fills the room quite well without being too overwhelming to the competing elements. Dialogue comes through crystal clear with none of the information feeling lost to the music in the film or the sound effects. All of the effects have a nice sense of direction within the mix with noises such as unsettling voices really springing to life. The movie uses environmental sounds to great effect, and the track retains strong detail even in the more chaotic developments. The track is a knockout throughout the entire runtime.
- Malignant – James Wan’s Visions: A 14-minute featurette in which Wan discusses wanting to branch beyond what established him in horror, the inspiration for the story, working with screenwriter Akela Cooper, the levity in the film, the creepy design work, the stunts in the film and more. This is a pretty solid supplement overall.
Malignant is the type of fresh, gonzo horror filmmaking that we rarely get in mainstream output these days. James Wan delivers an experience that is unhinged fun from beginning to end. The film is bound to be a polarizing experience, but those who love it will really love it. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has revisited this film with a 4K UHD Blu-Ray featuring a 5-star A/V presentation but not much in the way of special features. If you love this movie as much as we do and you have the setup to support this, you owe it to yourself to own this one in the best quality possible. Highly Recommended
Malignant is currently available to purchase on 4K UHD Blu-Ray, Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital.
Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the 4K UHD Blu-Ray.
Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.
Dillon is most comfortable sitting around in a theatre all day watching both big budget and independent movies.