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Maléfique
Malefique Psalm 666

France 2002
produced by
Olivier Delbosc, Marc Missonnier for Fidélité Productions, Gimages, Hachette Filipacchi Films, Bee Movies, Canal+
directed by Olivier Delbosc
starring Gérald Laroche, Philippe Laudenbach, Clovis Cornillac, Dimitri Rataud, Didier Bénureau, Geoffrey Carey, Félicia Massoni, Yves Arnault
written by Franck Magnier, Alechandre Charlot, based on an idea by Francois Cognard

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Fate brings four men together in a prison cell: the family man & former wealthy business man Carrère (Gérald Laroche) - who was robbed of everything by his smart wife (Félicia Massoni) -, the bookworm Lasalle (Philippe Laudenbach) - who in a fit of temporary insanity killed his wife -, the butchy dragqueen Marcus (Clovis Cornillac) - who has fantasies of one day going over the wall - & the goodnatured but idiotic Pâquerette (Dimitri Rataud) - who pretty much eats up everything he finds, including his little sister (which broght him to the slammer in the first place).

At one point, the four find a book immured in one of the cell's walls, the diary of Danvers (Geoffrey Carey), a black magician obsessed with eternal youth who some 8ß years ago escaped from the prison under mysterious circumstances (could it have been magic ?).

At first out of pure boredom, the foursome tries a few of the magic spells ... & to everyone's surprise they seem to work ...

As any proper convict would, the four then soon think that they could use the book's magic to escape prison ... but their initial experiments go somewhat wrong & as a result Pâquerette first loses his fingers, later, when he tries to eat up the book, the book strikes back & twists around every single bone in his body, with the expected lethal results.

Marcus, who was openly in love with the little idiot tosses the book out of the window to end it all, but already the next day, a new cellmate shows up in their cell, Hippolyte (Didier Bénureau), who disappears mysteriously during the night, but leaves them both Danver's book and a camcorderwhich shows how to use the book ...

Soon our remaining trio is ready, & they open up a magic door that promises them freedom ... but it only leads them to another cell, one without any door (!).

Led to believe he needs a woman to perfect the spell Lasalle cuts off Marcus' penis (dragqueen Martin always wanted to be a real woman anyways), but that only kills Marcus ... & this is when he realizes the book was never there to give anyone freedom at all ... but fulfill their respective greatest wish in a gruesome fashion ... so Marcus has become a woman (just before he died), Lasalle himself - who always wanted to obtain absolute knowledge - soon merges with the book (which contains absolute knowledge), & Carrère, who only wants to se his son again, becomes the eyes of his son's toy soldier ...

 

A somewhat overambitious film: It tries to be an account of prison routine, a character study of men confined to a secluded space, an almost philiosophical horror mystery, & a shortstory with a punchline (Carrère becoming the eyes of a toy soldier).

If you haven't guessed, a combination of all these elements is somehow doomed to fail as all these very diverse elements do not work too well together. That said however, Maléfique is not an all bad film, occasionally it's even pretty entertaining, it just falls several feet short of its own ambitions & its lofty goals are not at all helped either by a rather clichéd direction.

Probably it would have been great as a half hour episode of Tales of the Unexpected.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

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