The Malignant Set-Piece James Wan Dropped Because It Was Too Much Like Saw

I think we can all agree that "Malignant" is a gift to humanity. Don't believe me? Rewatch the jail cell scene. That should quell any doubts that you may have about James Wan's film being a work of art.

Okay, yes, there is a bit of hyperbole being thrown around here, but it's for good reason. "Malignant" really is a pretty great horror movie, even without the crazy twist. It's an absurd movie that came out during extremely absurd times, and although it wasn't a box office or streaming hit (it was released in 2021 during Warner Bros. day-and-date release schedule), it is still fondly remembered among those who saw, nay, experienced it.

Of course, it wasn't totally perfect right out the gate. Slowly but surely, over the past year since its release, Wan has revealed some juicy behind-the-scenes info that sheds new light on how it all came together. Some of these have been very interesting, with one recent piece of information almost setting the stage for a major reference to Wan's other major horror contribution.

Let's play a game

In a short video posted to his Instagram account, Wan showed off the original way the mysterious Jane Doe (Jean Louisa Kelly) was supposed to be restrained in the film. Remember, Jane Doe was revealed to have been kept hostage in the attic of her biological daughter Madison/Emily's (Annabelle Wallis) house. However, Gabriel didn't exactly do a great job with tying her down, given how she was able to escape and subsequently crash through the ceiling.

Originally, Jane Doe was strapped to a moving wheel attached to the beams of the attic. In the video shared by Wan, his collaborator and co-writer Ingrid Bisu can be seen testing out the contraption alongside a few handlers. Of course, this device ended up not being in the final film, and Wan shed some light as to why.

"It felt too 'Saw'-like," he wrote in the video's caption, "so I dropped it."

Even if you are not that familiar with the "Saw" franchise, you can definitely see how this would evoke comparisons. After all, searching "wheel trap saw" on Google Images gives you several different traps from the series, including the Shotgun Carousel from "Saw VI" and the Impalement Wheel from "Saw 3D," that have similar vibes to "Malignant's" original contraption. Even though it looked pretty cool, it was for the best that Wan cut it — after all, he had grander plot points to think about.

"Malignant" is available to stream on HBO Max.