Reviews don’t necessarily make or break a film — but a great review from an expert doesn’t hurt. When it comes to horror movies, there are few people that are more equipped to weigh in on the genre than one of our modern fright masters, Stephen King. So when the author recently offered up a glowing one-word review of James Wan’s new film, Malignant, the filmmaker was understandably thrilled.
James Wan helmed the Saw and Conjuring franchises, and he’s made a name for himself as a director by championing practical effects and leaning into gritty, visceral storytelling. Still, even the most experienced and celebrated creators probably appreciate a good pat on the back from their peers, and that’s exactly what he got from Stephen King. The legendary horror writer recently tweeted a review of Malignant, and used the word “brilliant” to describe it. Not long after, Wan shared a screenshot of King’s review on Instagram, along with a few of his own words of gratitude:
It seems as though getting the approval was a momentous occasion for the Aquaman director, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. The author is responsible for many of the most terrifying stories of the last few decades–Carrie, Pet Semetary, The Shining and IT just to name a few. If he’s praising your horror movie, it has to feel like you’ve really made it, regardless of any other achievements you’ve already had.
The horror writer isn’t the only one who’s endorsed Malignant, though. It’s certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and critics, including CinemaBlend’s own Eric Eisenberg, have heaped plenty of praise onto the film, with special attention given to James Wan’s bold and “bonkers” storytelling. Fans, too, haven’t been shy about sharing their reactions. Some have even called it one of the scariest movies of the year. So Stephen King’s “brilliant” assessment seems to hold some water.
While the iconic scribe doesn’t give praise lightly, he never hesitates to let fans know when he’s enjoyed something. He shares a list of book recommendations on his publisher’s website and often offers the Twitter equivalent of a thumbs up when he wants fans to know he enjoyed a movie or TV show. Recently, he tweeted detailed praise of Mike Flanagan’s new Netflix series, Midnight Mass. Though it’s not a huge surprise that he has taken a shine to the filmmaker, who he entrusted to adapt both Gerald’s Game and Doctor Sleep. So, clearly, if James Wan made the cut for King’s recommendations, he has plenty of reasons to celebrate.
If you want to see for yourself whether Malignant lives up to the hype, you have a couple of options. The film is currently playing in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.