When I caught filmmaker Eric Valette’s claustrophobic occult-themed prison flick Malefique at Montreal’s Fantastia Festival a couple of summers ago, at no point did I think “This is pretty cool, but it’d be way better if the guy who produced Torque made it.”  But to be completely honest (and I’m all about disclosure), that’s only because Torque hadn’t come out yet.

Neal Moritz, producer of noisy and fast-moving entertainment, is now behind a remake of the film at Paramount.  The pitch comes from John Pogue, who previously worked with Moritz on The Skulls and The Fast and the Furious. 

The original Malefique is set almost entirely in a single prison cell populated by a diverse quartet of convicts:  a scholarly wife-killer who refuses to read, an aggressive mid-transsexual, a dim young boytoy who literally eats anything and everything, and a white-collar criminal whose main desire is to see his son again.  When they discover a book of black magic hidden away by a former inmate, it becomes a trial-and-error process of figuring out how to use the tome to escape their cell.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Moritz’s movies on a base level and will be among the first to plunk down cash for a ticket to Stealth (even though I may have actually lost a few IQ points just from witnessing the trailer), but he doesn’t seem like a particularly good match for the material, a tense and paranoid and deliberately paced horror-thriller.  Perhaps he’s just attempting to broaden his filmography beyond the smash-cut cacophony of vehicular flicks and the XXX franchise”.  Either that or he’s just figured out how to work submachineguns and street bikes into a prison movie.

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