Why the smart reviews are so mixed


James Wan’s latest horror opus features fewer scares and a wacky twist that divides critics. Here’s why the reviews for Malignant are so mixed.

Director James Wan’s latest horror movie Smart everyone’s talking about its twist in the third act, but reviews are mixed – here’s why. Smart follows Madison by Annabelle Wallis, a pregnant woman married to an abusive man played by Jake Abel. When the two argue, Abel’s Derrick pushes Maddie against a wall, knocking her unconscious. She wakes up later that night to find that Derrick is dead and that she is being pursued by a demonic figure who causes her to lose the baby.

Throughout the rest of the film, Maddie witnesses several murders committed by this demonic entity she knows as Gabriel. Her involvement in these murders is questioned by detectives Kekoa Shaw and Regina Moss, but as Maddie and her sister dig deeper into her mysterious past, they uncover something much more twisted. Gabriel is actually Maddie’s parasitic twin with overpowered abilities who was awakened when she was knocked back against the wall by her late husband. This twist leads to a truly heartbreaking final act that sees Maddie / Gabriel slaughter an entire police station before Maddie finally locks Gabriel in a jail cell in her mind.

Related: The Dario Argento Movies That Inspired James Wan’s Malignant

At the exit, the notices for Smart were decidedly mixed up. While many praised the third act’s twist, others saw it as less than capable of bolstering the number plot that preceded it. Critics have also found that for a horror film, Smart wasn’t that scary. Still, those who loved the movie absolutely loved it, while detractors are just as fervent in their opinions. As of this writing, Smart has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 76%, while Metacritic has Wan’s film tied at 50. Here’s what some of the more negative reviews have said about the horror film inspired by the rebirth subgenre by Giallo:

Wicked Horror:

It is difficult to fully elucidate what genre of film Smart it is true. Likely, Wan’s delightfully deranged little shocker will remind you of several different horror movies at once, all of them crazier than the next – the opening sequence could be taken as a reference to the legendary opening of Jurassic Park, for example – but there isn’t much really innovative here as it is basically a blockbuster mainstream horror film, made by a committee to capture the attention of the as many moviegoers as possible.

The readers:

You can commit to making an intentionally bad movie and doing a bad job by making that intentionally bad movie. Smart is bad, both intentionally and accidentally. The event was a better time, which is the first movie fight the turd has ever won. If campy is your thing, pitch a tent somewhere else.


Maligne is a conflicting miscalculation, full of ideas that she never develops to a satisfactory degree. Director James Wan seems unable to decide which genre will best serve Maddie and Gabriel’s story, and the resulting tonal mashup never feels cohesive enough to be engaging.

The playlist:

In other words, if Wan had gone all the way, selling all the other considerations to execute his insane concept and finale, it might have been good; conversely, if the film had developed its characters and created a real framework for this insane madness, it might have passed this detection test. Smart does neither, sort of going halfway through each camp, resulting in a movie that isn’t particularly scary or interesting.

malignant twist how james wan (1)

One of the main complaints against Smart it’s just not scary enough. Wan, who has launched several hugely successful horror franchises, is known for his terribly effective jumping fears and his latest one is a very short one. Still, that largely seems to be the point. Smart is suffused with dread, and the veteran horror director seems to wink at audiences in many cases, not spooking when they would be most obvious and instead choosing to highlight the inhuman ways in which Gabriel moves and wallows in Maddie’s increasingly distressing confusion. its circumstances. Plus, if there had been more jumping fears, would this crazy twist have landed as well as it did? Here are some positive reviews for Smart:


However you watch Smart, he asks to be experienced. I’m not a die-hard supporter of Wan, and yet this film is easily my favorite that I’ve ever seen from the filmmaker. Wan has shown that he knows how to scare audiences with movies like Insidious and Conspiracy, and he also knows how to please them with films like furious 7 and Aquaman. Smart is like a hybrid of the two, a grotesque and captivating mashup that knows how to use horror framing to tickle and bewitch its audience.

AV Club:

Regardless of his math on the fun to fool ratio in Aquaman, there’s no way to look at this deranged follow-up and not conclude that Wan is back in his place. Still, some of that time spent in the superhero trenches seems to have crept into his supernatural comeback. Smart is a wacky psychodramatic creepfest that here and there turns to bloody action hilarity, as if Pazuzu had taken over the body from a Batman movie.

The ring :

But even though Smart is just a one-off project and not another Wan-compatible horror franchise, it seems destined to have a long lifespan, especially among genre enthusiasts. As perhaps the most WTF movie experience since Serenity, Smart is a movie you have to see to believe. Like its nauseous subject matter, this unique and uncompromising weird film has a way of staying in your head.


A movie that takes big swings is always worth celebrating, and Smart, James Wan’s out-of-control return to horror, takes on some of the biggest swings you’ve ever seen in movies. Wan hasn’t directed a horror movie since 2016, and the return to the genre has seemingly unbalanced him, or at the very least made him dizzy with glee. He is now a successful filmmaker, and here he uses his skills and influence to create a film best described as “opera”.

For some, a movie in which the plot hinges on such a major twist may be lacking in some departments, but SmartThe special, yet divisive, twist of the third act is certainly begging viewers to go back and seek out the groundwork that was laid for the reveal earlier in the film. Ultimately, the pros seem to outweigh the cons in Smartis the case. While it might not be the straightforward horror that some wanted from Wan, it’s the creepy villain and the truly mind-blowing reveal of the third act is enough to elevate this movie from an average horror flick to an experience. Do not miss.

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