Is Malignant Based on a True Story?

‘Malignant’ is a horror-thriller that follows a young woman named Madison who is haunted by visions of gruesome murders. She soon realizes that her hallucinations are, in fact, real and is then haunted by the faceless creature that perpetrated the crimes. Her connection to the vile being goes back to her childhood, and an attempt to uncover it takes her down a deeply disturbing path littered with gory murders. A truly horrific story that blends the suspense of a murder mystery with the surreal nature of a horror film, ‘Malignant’ keeps audiences on the edge of their seats for a variety of reasons. So could any of it be true? We decided to find out.

Is Malignant Based On a True Story?

No, ‘Malignant’ is not based on a true story. The film is based on an original work of fiction by its director and co-writer James Wan (‘Insidious,’ ‘The Conjuring,’ ‘Saw‘), along with Ingrid Bisu and Akela Cooper. The film largely stemmed from Wan wanting to break from his highly successful, multi-sequel horror franchises and focus on a film that allowed him to experiment. ‘Malignant’ therefore gives the filmmaker a chance to delve into new, experimental territory while also being reminiscent of his earlier films that were more direct and gruesome. He has stated that ‘Malignant’ was made with the intention of being an antithesis of his other films and that fans looking for scares similar to those in his ‘The Conjuring’ or ‘Insidious’ movies might be disappointed.

However, “disappointed” is probably one of the last words that come to mind when Wan’s foray into experimenting with horror filmmaking is in question. The prolific filmmaker — who is known for creating some of the most successful horror franchises in the world — has seemingly experimented extensively with prosthetics and visual and practical effects in the making of his film, which is something he was seemingly unable to do to the same extent with his previous horror projects. This has resulted in a movie with decidedly more “blood and guts” and a more physical central villain than the “haunted house-style” that his recent work reflected.

In fact, so different is ‘Malignant’ from his recent work that the film has been compared to Giallo cinema— a largely Italian filmmaking style that peaked in popularity in the 1970s and was known to combine horror and thriller elements whilst generally straying away from more supernatural aspects. The films especially gravitated towards graphic violence, something that Wan’s film also does, and through which it also harks back to his earlier films like ‘Saw,’ which were known for their stomach-churning gore. In his own words, Wan describes his vision for ‘Malignant’ as a traditional investigative thriller that also happens to contain violent action set-pieces.

In the end, ‘Malignant’ is definitely not based on a true story, and its origins are, in fact, quite the opposite. The film is an attempt by a well-known horror-genre filmmaker to break away from the themes and tropes that have populated his wildly successful franchises and explore new elements in filmmaking that he is curious about. Like the techniques, the storyline is completely original and gives Wan ample new territory to explore and create something entirely different, which also appeals to fans of his earlier work.

Read More: Where Was Malignant Filmed?