The first clip from James Wan‘s Malignant has been released, and it’s every bit as atmospheric and unnerving as you’d expect from one of modern horror’s foremost auteurs. Recharging his batteries after the big-budget excess of 2018’s Aquaman, Wan has returned to his roots with a stripped-back chiller that’s set to terrify audiences both at home in theaters when the movie comes to cinemas and HBO Max on September 10.
There isn’t any sort of outward malevolence in the clip, but every frame is seeping with lurching dread as Annabelle Wallis‘ Madison flees inside of her house from an unseen and unknown assailant. She keeps telling herself that nobody’s there, but if you’ve ever seen one horror film in your lifetime, then you’ll know fine well she’s kidding herself.
Plot details for Malignant are being kept under lock and key for now, but we do know that Madison has spent her life being haunted by visions of shocking murders, only for her to realize that these aren’t hallucinations, but part of her reality. Wallis is a great actress, so putting her together with Wan and letting him put her through the physical and emotional wringer almost guarantees that we’re getting a showstopping central performance.
Malignant marks the first time Wan has worked outside of an existing IP in a long time, with his time being split between The Conjuring franchise, the seventh installment in the Fast & Furious franchise, and the DCEU for the majority of the last decade, so it’ll be fascinating to see what he’s come up with for his grand return to original psychological scares. Malignant comes to theaters and HBO Max on September 10. Check out the clip below, which should give you a pretty good indication of what horrors await.