Malignant (2021) Review

GREAT VISUALS, LACKLUSTER STORY

Malignant (2021) was released simultaneously in theaters and HBO Max on September 10, 2021. After hearing about the quality of this film, we had to check it out. Sadly, after watching it… we wish we left it to the imagination. We can’t review this film without giving away several plot points, so be warned, spoilers are forthcoming.

The film is beautifully shot. There are sequences throughout that just showcase the mind of James Wan and his creative genius. That being said, if stunning imagery was all we needed for a solid film, this would be Oscar worthy. Instead, it’s a slow burn film that seems to need the viewing audience to not ask questions so that the plot can move along.

Madison, played by Annabelle Wallis, is married to an abusive man. Derek, played by Jake Abel, appears to be a lazy husband who continues to abuse his wife physically, mentally and emotionally. We know this because he slams Madison’s head against a wall in a fit of rage. He also makes a nasty comment about how she continues to get pregnant and how he gets to watch all his babies die within her. While those scenes are evil, that’s all we get. The next thing we know, Derek meets his end by a shadowy figure that manipulates electricity. Then he’s just gone. The relationship seems to fall to the background with no information or development into why Madison was with him. She just was.

After all this, more people keep dying. Madison admits to having a “friend” named Gabriel who kept doing evil things. Turns out he isn’t imaginary, he’s a parasitic twin and they share a brain. The victims were all the doctors that removed his tiny arms and legs from Madison’s back. The problem… they share a brain. When Gabriel comes forward, Madison is a witness to it all.

Overall the film feels clunky, slow and lacking development of key characters (like Madison’s sister, Sydney). The scares feel less like true jump scares or thrilling scenes and more like something needed to get us from point A to point B. It’s as if they need to hand hold the audience instead of letting our minds run wild with all different options. Sometimes the most terrifying parts of thriller/horror films is just hearing music, seeing the camera move and our minds filling in the blanks. 

In the end, we really wished we never started the film. Our imaginations of what it could be, were by far better than what we watched. If you like the idea of a parasitic twin, we suggest reading Stephen King’s The Dark Half. It’s better in our humble opinion. There was a film made about it, but maybe just read the book and let your mind play tricks on you.


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FF 044: Midnight Mass (2021) Review

#044. MIDNIGHT MASS (2021) REVIEW

Airdate: October 6, 2021

Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House & The Haunting of Bly Manor) unleashes his newest endeavor Midnight Mass to Netflix. The darker tale revolves around religion, devotion, desire, obsession, and forgiveness. Was it as thought provoking as Flanagan’s other two installments? Forever Fangirls delves into what the series and its symbolism meant to them. All from the perspective of two Catholic School girls.

**Spoiler Warning**


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Fear Street Part 3: 1666 (2021) Review

THE FINAL ACT DOES NOT DISAPPOINT

Fear Street Part 3: 1666 the final chapter of the Fear Street Trilogy launched on July 16, 2021 on Netflix. The final entry is upon us. Will we learn about Sarah Fier and the reason behind the curse? Spoilers ahead because frankly we can’t talk about part three without significant ones.

It’s 1666 and we get to see where the curse began. Kiana Madeira who portrays Deena in the previous two films, brings Sarah Fier to life in part three. Olivia Scott Welch who portrays Sam in the previous two entries, brings Hannah Miller to life. It’s a perfect way to ensure the audience knows the relationship between these two characters without the need to develop it with two new actresses. We know Sam and Deena love one another. Is it centuries old love? One could argue the film lays this out but in a more sub-textual way.

During the course of the film, the water supply is poisoned, the pastor commits heinous crimes and the town’s peacefulness is destroyed by evil. Due to the time and the fact that women were to be blamed for a ton of things mankind couldn’t control, women are being hung for bringing this darkness to them all. Sarah and Hannah are strung up, but Sarah begs to save Hannah. She lies about being a witch and takes on the full responsibility. Hannah is saved, but Sarah Fier pays with her life.

The twist here: witchcraft is real and one who wields it lives outside of town. She has books of satanic spells and if one of her books got into the wrong hands… it would be very dangerous. Once Sarah dies, we’re thrust forward to 1994 and Deena knows what she has to do to save Sam.

The final battle reveals the big bad was Nick Goode and his family the entire time. His ancestors stole the book and cast a spell. Every generations eldest would need to select names of Shadysiders. Those individuals would go on a rampage and feed the curse. In return, Sunnyvale would be peaceful and the Goode family line would prosper.

While we were a little, ehh, about how the final battle ensues, the final installment is good. The ending was strong and very 90’s horror with the possibility for a sequel. It was an enjoyable series with the difficulties one expects from three films released within the same year. It’s not easy, but this was executed well.

One final thought. From part one, Kimberly kept saying Nick Goode can’t be good. He has to be the villain. His name, for her, was too on the nose. 


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FF 043: Motherland: Fort Salem S2 (2021) Review

#043. MOTHERLAND: FORT SALEM (S2 – 2021) REVIEW

Airdate: September 22, 2021

Last year #switches brought Motherland: Fort Salem to our attention. This year, we anxiously awaited season 2. If you haven’t seen S1, you can watch it all or listen to our previous podcast reviewing it (https://www.foreverfangirls.com/episode005a/). Were our questions answered? Did the cliffhanger end the way we wanted? There are so many things to cover and so many things we can’t say here. Tune in to find out if we got the answers we were hoping for.

**Spoiler Warning**


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Fear Street Part 2: 1978 (2021) Review

BRUTAL, HONEST & GORY

Fear Street Part Two: 1978 came to Netflix on July 9, 2021. The second film in the Fear Street Trilogy continues building the suspense and terror of the Sarah Fier story. While the first film laid down the foundation with less visual bloodshed than we’ve seen in straight up horror films. The second entry into the series is darker, bloodier and leaves us with the feeling of helplessness.

At the end of part one, Deena receives a call from Cindy Berman, the only living survivor of the Camp Nightwing Massacre. Cindy meets with Deena, her brother, and a possessed Sam, at her house. We then crash back into the past and to Cindy’s nightmare.

Now that we’ve said that… welcome to Camp Nightwing in 1978! Once again, we’re shown that Shadyside houses deplorable teenagers, do-gooders who think they can get away from the stink of their hometown and the troublemaker tweens who don’t care anymore. On the other side of the tracks, this installment reinforces Sunnyvale as the good kids with bright futures. But death doesn’t discriminate… or does it?

Ziggy, Cindy’s baby sister, is a tormented camper. She’s bullied by other campers and almost strung up by Sunnyvale campers. She befriends Nick Goode, the future sheriff of Sunnyvale, and it’s revealed they have feelings for one another. He wants to protect her and maybe get a bit of revenge on those bullies.

During the course of the film, a counselor named Tommy becomes possessed and goes on a killing spree through the camp. Nick Goode gets the campers out of town, but not before Cindy and her sister Ziggy are attacked at the base of Sarah Fier’s hanging tree. When Nick finds them after the bloodshed has stopped, he revives Ziggy and tells police her name is Cindy. In a twist, Cindy Berman never survived. Ziggy did.

We are then left with a really excellent cliffhanger involving Deena.

That’s the short and sweet of the film. While many believed the first to be the weakest installment of all three, we think this film is. That said, it’s a good film and does what a second installment should, it gives us more information about what would be going on before passing us to the final one. It’s brutal, it’s harsh, and it works.


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FF 042: Gunpowder Milkshake (2021) Review

Airdate: September 8, 2021

Gunpowder Milkshake brings an all-star cast to the screen in a gritty, dark film about female assassins. After Scarlet (Lena Headey) leaves her daughter Sam (Karen Gillan) in the hands of the librarians (Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh, Carla Cugino). Years have passed and Sam faces the same fate her mother did years before. Can they all work together for the greater good? Does the film fly high or fall flat? Forever Fangirls reviews the Netflix feature.

**Spoiler Warning**   


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Fear Street Part 1: 1994 (2021) Review

A REASON TO LIKE HORROR AGAIN

Fear Street Part One: 1994 launched on Netflix on July 2, 2021. A three-part film story, 1994 delivers the groundwork of a classic horror trilogy. Although not a direct adaptation of R.L. Stein’s books, he praised Netflix’s creative team as they “captured the essence of them.”

We’re introduced to Shadyside, where life is hard and murder sprees are just another day at the office. Just a few minutes away, Sunnyvale brings out the best in people. There’s no crime and murder isn’t a concern. The students, like any rival public school system, do not get along. That’s putting it mildly.

It’s here that we meet Deena and her ex-girlfriend Sam, who moved to Sunnyside, complete with new boyfriend on her arm. After Shadyside and Sunnyside have a brawl over a memorial ceremony over Shadyside’s latest victims, Deena and her friends head back home on the school bus. 

But like any horror film, something needs to go wrong. Sam’s boyfriend taunts the bus from his car. Deena and her friends cause them to wreck. Sam crawls out of the broken car and touches a set of bones. Sam’s vision fills with memories of a witch named Sarah Fier.

Thus begins the witch’s pursuit of Sam. Meanwhile, Deena desperately tries to keep Sam and her friends alive.

Production spares no expense for the blood, guts and gore within the film. The violence is grotesque, but if you’re watching a slasher film, this is to be expected. The story in the first film might feel thin. It might seem as if the characters are one-sided, but remember, it is a trilogy. Writers, producers, cast, etc, all must save points to get us through all three. 1994 is the foundation and it felt solid to us.

Overall, the first film was enjoyable. It was campy, scary, funny, and nostalgic. Sure, they might have gone overboard with the music, but if they were aiming to replicate horrors films of this decade – they were spot on. 

PS: Having worked in a mall… Kimberly can truly agree, closing was the worst shift.


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FF 041: The Suicide Squad (2021) Review

#041. THE SUICIDE SQUAD (2021) REVIEW

Airdate: August 25, 2021

The Suicide Squad, the highly anticipated film by James Gunn, hit theaters and HBO Max in August 2021. Was the film better than the first attempt in 2016? Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, Viola Davis, John Cena and the rest of the cast hit the screen to prove it is better. Forever Fangirls gives you their thoughts. Will they agree on a rating?

**Spoiler Warning**   


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The Clovehitch Killer (2018) Review

A THRILLER WITH PROMISE THAT LOSES ITS WAY

The Clovehitch Killer (2021), released in November 2018, is now available on Netflix. The thriller tells the story of Tyler Burnside (Charlie Plummer) discovering his idyllic Christian family is anything but. After coming across a cache of disturbing information in his father’s possession, Charlie enlists school pariah Kassi (Madisen Beaty) to decipher what it all means. The premise leads us down a twisted road with an ending that doesn’t seem to fit the rest of the film.

As we’ve alluded to in past reviews, it isn’t just how a film or a television series begins. It’s how they hold our interest and finish with a bang.

Serial killers hiding in plain sight are nothing new. BTK was a father. Ted Bundy was one too. They had jobs, lived two lives. In Clovehitch, Don Burnside (Dylan McDermott) is no different. He’s a troop leader, donates his time to helping the food pantry and attends church regularly. The community respects him. His son reveres him until a revelation happens that threatens to unravel Burnside’s image and reputation.

It’s here that the film loses its way. Characters thrust together to confirm suspicions. They left several tendrils of plot open open without explanation or closure. The film switches from a slow-paced thriller to one that felt it needed to finish under a certain runtime. 

Clovehitch starts off with an interesting premise. It reels you in and makes you want to stay for a bit. Then, for some inexplicable reason, it lets the line go as they rush to the finish line. While McDermott and Plummer do their best with the material, their interactions at the end feel forced and almost lost. It’s sad, as the beginning had so much promise.


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FF 040: Jungle Cruise (2021) Review

#040. JUNGLE CRUISE (2021) REVIEW

Airdate: August 11, 2021

Jungle Cruise (Dwayne Johnson & Emily Blunt) is another ride turned into a movie by Disney, but was it worth… the ride?  With an A-List cast, was the film able to capture the magic that Pirates of the Caribbean so successful? Forever Fangirls dives in to review this highly anticipated film.

NOTE: Sheila mentions the release year as 2020. That was the ORIGINAL release year. Jungle Cruise was released in July 2021.

**Spoiler Warning**   


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