Skip to main content

James Wan Explains How Aquaman Influenced Malignant

Annabelle Wallis in Malignant

CinemaBlend participates in affiliate programs with various companies. We may earn a commission when you click on or make purchases via links.

James Wan made his name in horror launching franchises like Saw and The Conjuring, before being handed to the reins to major studio franchises like Fast & Furious and Aquaman. While Wan has shown he's more than capable of doing things outside of horror, he's continued to return to the genre after making his major tentpole movies, and it seems that's been a purposeful choice. Wan says the major way that Aquaman influenced his decision to make his new film, Malignant, was that after making the CGI heavy action movie he wanted to do something about as far from that as possible.

In between making the massive and massively successful Aquaman movie, and the hopefully just-as-successful sequel, James Wan went back to making the sort of horror movies that he is very much known for. They're smaller stories without big stars with unique concepts that can potentially hook an audience. James Wan explained at a recent media event (via comicbook.com) that this was very much his plan, as after making the visual effects heavy Aquaman, he wanted to do anything but that with his next project. Wan explained...

I tend to do this, which is whenever I make a big film, I'm just sick of that. The next movie I want to do is go back to my smaller, more intimate films. And that's kind of what I did when I spent years doing my smaller horror films. I wanted to make a big, sort of tentpole explosive action film because I want to show people that I'm capable of other genres as well. And that was when I kind of went off and did Furious 7, which is still the strangest one in my filmography. But after that film, I wanted to go back and do another conjuring film, which I did with Conjuring 2. After Conjuring 2, I went and did Aquaman. So I kind of have this rollercoaster thing that I do. And after Aquaman, I'm like, no more CGI movie, no more big-budget, sort of crazy set pieces. And I wanted to just go back to a smaller, more intimate film. And I did

James Wan also explained how making those bug budget movies like Aquaman and Furious 7 helped him make Malignant. Because while the movie wasn't nearly as CGI heavy, there were a lot of technical challenges in bringing certain characters to life, and having made those very technical movies was a bit help. Wan also indicated that some of the things he learned making Malignant will now be taken forward to making Aquaman 2.

Malignant, Aquaman, and The Conjuring are all currently available on HBO Max. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.

Malignanat isn't entirely without CGI of course, few movies are these days, but compared to Aquaman the new horror film has very little. And there are certainly no "crazy set pieces" on the same scale that Aquaman had. There was no need to create a massive undersea battle sequence. There are certainly still some disturbing creatures in Malignant, but much of that was done more practically.

While Malignant may not be as massive in scope as Aquaman, it's still getting a pretty strong reaction from those that have seen it. It's a wild and creative movie from James Wan, which is something that all of his movies, no matter the scale, do have in common.

Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.