FESTIVAL 2003 ENTRY
I love surprises and when I sat down to
watch the French horror flick “Malefique”, I knew absolutely nothing
about it and had zero expectations in regards to what it would deliver.
Well, give this dog a bone, some “Kibbles” and a bitch in heat. The
lack of funds definitely worked in this film’s favor since the director
and screenwriters (Alexandre Charlot et Franck Magnier)
had to be more inventive to compensate and therein, delivered
strong fear show.
"Malefique" is an insanely engrossing,
deliciously mysterious and refreshingly mature treat. What really made it
happen for me though were, first and foremost, the characters that populated
this cell. Backed by strong dialogue, rock-solid characterization and
stellar acting, the players and the interaction between them consumed me
for a buck and a half. Props go out to all for their expert displays, but
especially to Gerard Laroche (Carrere) for giving one hell of a
captivating performance. I could not take my eyes off the man every time he was
on-screen. Talk about intense!
The film’s horror tricks also
stimulated me in the right way. Although some of the fear devices found here
were somewhat familiar, they were well executed and got the intended
reactions out of me. Another plus is that I really had no idea as to where
this storyline was going with unpredictable plot turns, left and
right. That’s freaking rare for me! It felt awesome "not" to
The screenwriters should give me their home addresses so I can snail mail
them a baguette of bread, a bottle of wine, an issue of Swank magazine and
a pack of smokes. They did a bang-on job. I felt so anxious
throughout this movie and was taken for genre loop-the-loops more than
Vibe-wise, the pace of the flick was
slow, but craftman like in its rhythms. It just kept pulling me in deeper
and deeper to imminently engulf me whole. I also totally grooved on the
flick’s swaying claustrophobic nature. Ninety eight percent of this tale
was set in one jail cell and it so worked. With the setting being
supported by the old school and subtle directing style, I was beyond
horror charmed! You can’t go wrong with creepy slow cam movements,
brilliant use of silences and a thick spread of dread-filled atmosphere
buttered about. Lastly, I appreciated this film's restraint use of CGI and gore.
The grounded nature of the flick was never negated and the tone always
remained realistic-- even when the supernatural scenarios were a little
On a negative note, the character of
Paquerette, which was well interpreted (maybe too well) by Dimitri Rateau,
sadly got on my nerves more than a yapping poodle humping my leg. You know
the type...he acts like a petulant child, eats everything in sight, screams
all the time and is just an all-around freaking pain in the ass (I once
dated a girl exactly like that...it lasted half a day). I wanted to snap
his little neck like a celery stick by frame one.
But my biggest peeve was where the flick eventually wound up going
for its last block. Taking into account its originality to that point, the
“Wishmaster”-like heavy finale kind of let me down. I expected
something more novel after everything I went through, something a little
"left field" and unconventional for the conclusion.
Having said that,
"Malefique" was an
overall very fulfilling sit-down and another well-placed jab in the gut
for the French horror scene. You want classy, intelligent, well-written
and mucho involving? Enter this jail cell and swallow the key...you won’t
want to leave!