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James Wan's Malignant drops first terrifying and enigmatic trailer

Pack a spare pair folks, we're heading into Halloween season. Yes, yes, it's only July but the trailers for the spookiest time of year are beginning to surface, among them, the first for James Wan's Malignant. 

The movie stars Annabelle Wallis as Madison Mitchell, a woman plagued by horrific visions of murders as they're taking place. Think of it like Minority Report, but instead of Samantha Morton shouting RUUUUUUN, there's a hideous creature called Gabriel looming out of the shadows at every opportunity. 

Striking it rich in mood and atmosphere, the marketing team's edits on this trailer are top-notch. Violent, brutal horror seemingly pervades every shot, despite the fact the trailer masks all major story details for Wan's movie. But the director dropped a few hints on how the title may be interpreted, to give us a little something to go on:

"I’m a big fan of titles that have multiple meanings, and with Saw, we felt there’s one part of that that obviously refers to the visceral aspect of a tool, but at the same time, it touched a bit on what the voyeuristic aspect of the film was as well," he told IGN

"And so with Malignant, I just felt like this title really encompasses the tone of the film, the subject matter, which actually has a fair bit of medical horror attached to it. So it just felt appropriate."

As for what Gabriel actually is, the trailer mystifies his existence considerably. Is it a man or a monster? Or both? "My goal was to create a villain that you’re not quite sure what it is," Wan adds. "Is he a demon? Is he just a human serial killer or someone’s figment of someone’s imagination? Is he an imaginary friend that has come to life? It could be any of those things. And I think that’s part of the fun with the film is trying to work out what the hell this thing is.”

Wan cut his teeth on the Saw franchise, the first movie serving as his entry point into the genre. His later work includes the hugely popular The Conjuring and Insidious franchises, while die-hard Wan fans would remind you to catch his superb-yet-underseen Dead Silence and a small indie he made called Furious 7.

Malignant, Wan's first horror pic since 2016's The Conjuring 2, is set to arrive in theaters and on HBO Max, September 10, 2021. Ahead of its bow, find out how you can score an HBO Max free trial and prepare for scares with our picks of the best horror movies ever made.

Gem Seddon

I'm GamesRadar+'s west coast Entertainment News Reporter. I'm a bit obsessed with all things Aliens and Terminator. You can find my byline on our best Netflix movies and best Netflix shows lists.