Director: Alistair Legrand
Writer: Alistair Legrand, Luke Harvis (Screenplay)
Starring: Ali Larter, Arjun Gupta, Max Rose, Chloe Perrin, Merrin Dungey, Patrick Fischler
Plot: A single mother, and her children, are awoken nightly by an intense presence. She asks her scientist boyfriend to destroy the violent spirit, that paranormal experts are too frightened to take on.
Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: The Diabolical starts as we meet Madison (Larter) and her children Jacob (Rose), Haley (Perrin) who live in a house that gets visits on a nightly basis from an unknown violent spirit, paranormal investigators have run scared from the house, with Madison not having an option but to remain in the home.
Madison is trying to solve the problem herself, with the pressure of the impending bankruptcy and her scientist teacher boyfriend Nikolai (Gupta) being the only one that is willing to help her through this struggle.
Thoughts on The Diabolical
Characters & Performances – Madison is the single mother facing bankruptcy, she is willing to do anything to help her children, while dealing with the problems her son has been through in recent years as her family is starting to get haunted by a violent spirit that appears and disappears suddenly, she needs to work on trying to protect her family, not knowing who she can trust in her own home. Ali Larter does bring this character to life with the determination required to make every moment feel important to her character. Nikolai is the popular science teacher that is dating Madison, while knowing her son potential, he ends up helping Madison, having a connection to the truth. Jacob and Haley are the two children that are living with their own problems, with Jacob having anger issues.
Story – The story here follows a family that are being haunted by a violent spirit with no help coming from the paranormal community and her science teacher boyfriend, holding more of the answers. This does bottle down to a haunted house story, with moments that goes against the basic ideas of just moving away, taking that option away, before hitting a direction you wouldn’t have expected, which does feel fresh, even if it isn’t executed the best way. Most of the story is hinting at something very strongly, which does pay off with how everything unfolds, even if part of it can be seen as confusing.
Themes – The Diabolical does use the horror in the film to create some scary reaction moments, with the ghosts looking terrifying, though it does get old quickly, as we see too much too often and most of the time it is, ‘it isn’t real’ to make it vanish, we do get a sci-fi idea behind everything, which does bring a fresher side to the story. We keep the home as the main setting, which will keep the family trapped from escaping and giving us a chance to see how they work things out, the special effects are a complete mixed bag, because some of the creations are great, but when we get certain sci-fi moments, the CGI looks weak.
Final Thoughts – The Diabolical is a fresh approach to the haunted house, that works very well at bringing us the shocking horror moments.