Malignant is a 2021 psychological-thriller horror film directed by James Wan, who gave us many of the Saw, Insidious and The Conjuring movies. The film is centred on a woman haunted by visions of murder that appear to be connected to the first 8 years of her life that she can’t remember. The cast has Annabelle Wallis and Maddie Hasson in the leading roles. Horror is a tricky genre; what works for one doesn’t necessarily for another. So watch and find out for yourself if you like this film. Here’s the plot and ending of the movie Malignant explained; spoilers ahead.
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Malignant Movie: Plot Explained
Madison, who is in an abusive relationship with her husband, Derek, gets into an argument about her prior miscarriages. Derek loses his temper and smashes Madison’s head against the wall causing her to bleed from the back of her head.
That night a shadowy creature kills Derek and Madison finds herself in the hospital. Given there is no evidence of a break-in, Madison becomes a suspect. Soon, she begins having visions of people being murdered, and the suspicion on her only increases.
The investigation soon reveals that Madison was once called Emily and was under the care of Dr Florence Weaver, who was treating her for a mental condition. The series of murders that Madison claims to have witnessed is everyone who once worked with Dr Weaver to cure Emily. Emily was finally adopted when she was 8 years old and changed her name to Madison.
Madison is contacted by a creepy voice that calls her Emily, which causes Madison to remember Gabriel, her imaginary childhood friend. Realizing Gabriel is more than just her imagination, Madison goes on a hunt to find out what actually happened to her when she was a child and who Gabriel really is.
How are Madison and Gabriel connected? What is the truth about Emily?
Madison was born as Emily and Gabriel, who were conjoint twins that shared one brain. Gabriel developed supernatural powers, which included strength and the ability to project thoughts over radio frequency. Dr Weaver was trying to find a way to allow Emily to take complete control of her mind and body, but Gabriel was far too powerful. Left with no other choice, Dr Weaver decides to cut out the cancer and removes Gabriel’s physical body, and seals a portion of his head inside Emily’s.
Gabriel becomes dormant after this procedure. Emily is adopted by a kind family who names her Madison. Initially, Gabriel continues to speak to Madison and projects false visuals to trick her into killing her unborn step sister. Gabriel is unsuccessful, and once Madison’s sister Sydney arrives, Madison finds absolutely no need for Gabriel, and he gets buried deep in her subconscious, and 27 years pass.
Who is Serena May? Why was Emily given up for adoption?
Serena May is Emily’s birth mother. She was raped and was forced to take her pregnancy to term. In the process, Emily learnt that her two children are conjoint, and she considers them to be an abomination. Given Serena was very young and didn’t want anything to do with her demon child, she gave away Emily+Gabriel, who was later taken in by Dr Weaver.
Why did Gabriel return after all these years?
Gabriel became dormant after Sydney was born. When Derek smashes Madison’s head against the wall, it wakes Gabriel up. Gabriel takes control of both Madison’s mind and body, and that’s why he faces backwards. The first person he kills that night is Derek. While we see Madison being attacked by Gabriel, that is only a false visual she experiences.
What about Madison’s miscarriages?
Gabriel has been the one killing Madison’s unborn children and slowly gaining back his strength over the years.
Who are the people Gabriel is killing, and why?
Gabriel is killing everyone in Dr Weaver’s team (including her) as revenge for severing his limbs and organs and trapping him inside the deep recesses of Emily’s mind.
How is Madison able to witness Gabriel’s murders?
Because they share a brain, Gabriel has the ability to project false visuals for Madison, giving her the impression that she’s inside her house. Then Gabriel takes over her body and heads out to murder one person at a time. Madison tends to break out of the trance Gabriel puts her in, which is why she suddenly sees herself transported to a different location and witnesses Gabriel’s killings. That scene where she’s doing laundry at home… it’s only what she thinks she’s doing. In reality, she (well, Gabriel) is in Dr Weaver’s house murdering her.
Who is that lady that comes crashing down from the attic?
Serena May, Emily and Gabriel’s birth mother, is the one who has been kept tied up in Madison’s attic. Gabriel has reserved Serena as his second-last kill, the final target being Madison’s sister, Sydney. But before Gabriel can finish Serena, she cuts loose and falls through the roof.
The cops arrest Madison as they believe she has kidnapped Serena. They believe Madison’s motive to be that her treatment stopped working, and she blames her mother and Dr Weaver (and team) for it and is going around taking them down one at a time. Madison is arrested and locked up with a bunch of female convicts who come asking for death when they decide to begin roughing up Madison.
Malignant Ending Explained
The ending of the movie Malignant reveals that Gabriel resides inside Madison, emerges from the back of her head, and takes control of her body. Gabriel is able to keep Madison in a state of trance while he goes about doing his evil deeds. Gabriel thinks he has successfully killed Sidney and Serena, but finally, we’re shown that these are merely visuals that Madison projects on to him.
After the slaughter at the police station, Gabriel heads over to the hospital where Serena is. Sidney has a cot thrown on her, and Gabriel closes in for the kill. Sidney reaches out to Madison by telling her that Gabriel is the one who has been killing Madison’s unborn children. This causes Madison to become furious and takes back control of her mind. She then creates a false reality for Gabriel. If Gabriel could trap Madison, she realizes that she can do the same to him.
Madison locks Gabriel up in a dark corner of her subconscious, telling him that she’ll be ready if he tries to reemerge. Madison also comes to terms with the fact that if Gabriel had super strength, then she would have those powers too… after all, they shared a body. With ease, Madison tosses the bed off Sidney, and they hug, and the film comes to a close.
Malignant Movie: Will Gabriel be back?
Well, sure Gabriel can, but Madison is in complete control of her mind and, therefore, her body and all the newfound abilities like transmitting her thoughts to a radio. Even if Gabriel can resurface, Madison will be far too strong for him to do anything significant the next time around. Malignant makes for a neat superhero/villain origin story, but I think it’s best if the movie is not dragged into a sequel.
What did you think about the plot and the ending of the movie Malignant? Do leave your comments and questions below.
Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
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