Review: Malignant (2021)
Image credit: Warner Bros
We so wanted to like Malignant, having heard great things about it and being impressed by director James Wan's previous work on Saw and Insidious. It starts off with great promise, a lurid setting of scene in the Simion Research Hospital where we encounter something with great power and the ability to make lights flick on and off scarily, but as we move into the storytelling around our protagonist Madison Lake (Annabelle Wallis) and her abusive husband it sadly all starts to fall apart. The problem with Malignant is that it tries too hard to be stylish and the *most epic horror movie ever* but the script and offer is all over the place.
In Gabriel, Wan desperately wants him to be a legendary horror villain and there are certainly some scenes where the character impresses; we're thinking of the jail and police station kills in particular. The twist and reveal is interesting and pretty gross, but it takes a long time getting there. We didn't find it particularly giallo which some reviews have mentioned; sure, we have the knife - again, trying desperately to be *most epic horror movie weapon ever* - but the strange figure of Gabriel is more akin to Ringu or a Japanese horror film. Madison's house is another good entrant though for *most epic horror movie house ever*; that house sits well alongside Hereditary, Amityville Horror, A Nightmare On Elm Street and Halloween.
Wan puts the effort in and it looks great, but it just doesn't have enough of its own original ideas, story or the kudos of actors to make this a truly brilliant horror film.
4 Big Daggery Knives Out Of 10
Platform We Watched It On: Sky Cinema
Highlights: The jail scene
Watch Out For: Headaches
Review: Stamping Ground (1971)
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This absorbing documentary about the 1970 Kralingen Music Festival, Rotterdam, really does have the funk, kicking off with Santana and featuring performances by Canned Heat, Jefferson Airplane, The Byrds, Soft Machine, Pink Floyd and many more.
It's completely immersive, with close-ups of the artistes and psychedelic shots, as well as lots of candid festival crowd action. The music does the talking, although there are a couple of memorable interviews - Grace Slick's comments on war ring very true today.
By the end of it, you'll be dancing around your living room or at least tapping your toes along to Jingo by Santana.
8 Grooves Out Of 10
Platform We Watched It On: Netflix
Highlights: Some real far-out dancing
Watch Out For: Naked 70s Zorbing