James Wan on How Malignant is the "Horror Version of Frozen"

James Wan's new movie Malignant is now in theaters and on HBO Max and while the film is his return to the horror genre, it's also a story that has some unexpected layers. In Malignant, Madison (Annabelle Wallis) finds herself having horrifying visions of grisly murders, but comes to discover that they aren't visions at all. The murders are real and are connected to a disturbing figure from her past. Helping Madison sort out the mystery is her sister, Sydney (Maddie Hasson) and while Malignant has some dark turns and a truly wild third act, it's the relationship between the sisters that is central to the film, so much so that Wan describes the film as the "horror version of Frozen."

Warning: spoilers for Malignant below.

"Well, it felt like it was the most natural one, given the theme of the movie, given the subject matter of the film. Here you have a story about Madison with her own blood relation, her own blood sibling, which has Gabriel, who turns out to be a horrible person," Wan explained at a recent press event attended by ComicBook.com. "But yet her adopted sister, not blood relation in any way, is actually the one that she has the most connection with. That is the one that is the most loving. And I felt like that was such a cool story to come at it from that perspective."

Wan also explained that Ingrid Bisu, who created the film's story along with Wan and Akela Cooper, wanted the movie to be a love story, just not a romantic one.

"And for Ingrid, she loves the idea of telling a love story, but it's not a romantic story between the two leads. It's a love story between the two sisters. And I love that. I haven't quite seen that in a horror movie at least to this degree," he said. "And it's funny that we jokingly refer to it as, it's like the horror version of Frozen. It's like Anna and [Elsa]. But it really is like the horror version of Frozen. It's sisterly love, it's sisterly bond. And one of the many themes that the film deal with is the idea that can you be close to the people that you don't necessarily share blood relation with? And what we want to kind of say in this film is it's possible."

He added, "Madison travels the whole movie, basically, to find that sort of blood connection, that lost kin. And when she finally finds it, she goes, 'Oh, the person that I love the most has been right in front of me the whole time. And she's always been by my side, she's always been with me.' And we just felt like that was something that was important for the film."

Malignant stars Annabelle Wallis (The Mummy), Maddie Hasson (Mr. Mercedes), George Young (Containment), Michole Briana White (Dead to Me), Jacqueline McKenzie (Palm Beach), Jake Abel (Supernatural), and Ingrid Bisu (The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It).

Wan directed Malignant from a screenplay written by Akela Cooper (M3GAN). The story comes from Wan, Cooper, and Bisu. Wan produced alongside Michael Clear, with Eric McLeod, Judson Scott, Bisu, Peter Luo, Cheng Yang, Mandy Yu, and Lei Han serving as executive producers.

Malignant is now playing theaters and streaming on HBO Max.