Four prisoners occupy a cell – Carrère, the new guy who was caught up in a corporate fraud; the retarded Paquerette, who ate his six months sister; Daisy, a 35 year old transsexual in the process of his transformation; and Lassalle, an intellectual who killed his wife. One night they discover an old journal behind a stone in the cell, written by another prisoner, Danvers, who occupied the same cell centuries ago. The mysterious book deals with black magic, and soon they disclose the dark power behind those pages and try to escape the prison with its help.
This is a small French low-budget horror movie, and an example of how a horror film can be effective with nothing more than a good script. The atmosphere is grim and claustrophobic and the tone is dark and unsettling, most of the scenes are shot within the prison cell. Some of the best moments are delivered as the men summon up the darkness hidden in the book, only to realize that black magic is something you shouldn’t mess with. The end may feel a little bit rushed, but this doesn’t change the fact that Maléfique is a simple but efficient chiller, delivering solid performances and an original and intriguing story.