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