Four prisoners occupying the same cell stumble upon a spell book that seems to be the answer to escape.
Four prisoners in a cell, the new boy Carrère, imprisoned for committing a company fraud; Marcus, an aspiring transsexual and his dependent, Pâquerette the compulsive eater; and Lassale, a cravat-wearing former librarian and philosopher.
One evening, Carrère and Marcus discover a journal hidden in the wall of the cell. This journal written by a former inmate in the 1920's, the youth obsessed serial killer Danvers; seems to reveal the secret to escaping their prison. But something sinister lies within its pages......
The fact that the majority of the film takes place in a single cell and that the first half, which is steeped in interesting character development and black humour and driven by dialogue gives Maléfique the feeling of a stage play, something made possible by the sterling effort of the cast whose interpretations of these intriguing characters help to maintain the audience's attention. In particular the ever-watchable Clovis Cornillac in his role as the butch-bitch Marcus, and Dimitri Rataud's 'more excitable than an andrex puppy' character, Pâquerette.
It has to be said that the main concept of the plot is a fairly familiar formula: the discovery of a strange mystical object, the characters then use said object, and subsequently discover that it's not all it was cracked up to be is something many viewers will already be accustomed to in this genre of film.
The Downright Ugly:
A vagina collage, Clovis breastfeeding his cellmate, and existential sodomy; google any of that if you dare.
A well directed horror film, with a couple of stand out moments and misfit characters that is well worth a watch, if you've got nothing better to do that is.
Release date: 2002
Directed by: Eric Valette
Starring: Gérald Laroche, Philippe Laudenbach, Clovis Cornillac, Dimitri Rataud
Country of Origin: France