The Diabolical (2015) Movie Review

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.

StoryThe 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.

ThemesThe 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.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2021 – K – Kindred (2020) Movie Review

Director: Joe Marcantonio

Writer: Joe Marcantonio, Jason McColgan (Screenplay)

Starring: Tamara Lawrance, Fiona Shaw, Jack Lowden, Edward Holcroft, Chloe Pirrie, Anton Lesser, Kiran Sonia Sawar

Plot: Plagued by mysterious hallucinations, a pregnant woman suspects that the family of her deceased boyfriend has intentions for her unborn child.

Tagline – Mother Knows Best

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Kindred starts when Charlotte (Lawrance) and Ben (Holcroft) are looking to move to Australia to start a new life, only for Charlotte to learn she is pregnant and Ben’s family wanting to keep Charlotte in the country.

After an accident sees Ben killed, Charlotte is taken in by his family mother Margaret (Shaw) and overly close family friend Thomas (Lowden), who between them always look to find a way to keep Charlotte leave the home.

Thoughts on Kindred

Characters & Performances – Charlotte is the young woman that is looking to start her new life in Australia with her boyfriend, which will leave her making herself becoming distant to his family until he ends up getting killed after learning she is pregnant. She wants to get back to her life, but his family leaves her needing to stay with them, cutting off her seeing, speaking or contacting any of her friends, becoming obsessed that she has become trapped. She finds herself trapped, alone and away from the world with a family that seems to want more from her. Tamara Lawrance is great in the leading role, showing us just how uncomfortable she feels in each and every scene in the film. Margaret is the mother of Ben, she welcomes Charlotte into her home after his death, wanting to make sure she has everything she needs for the baby. Fiona Shaw does give this character the perfect blend of caring and being creepy. Thomas is the family friend that has always been in Ben’s life, he lives in the mansion and does most of the work around the home, he shows more interest that would be expected in the baby coming, like it was his own. Jack Lowden does also give us a disturbing performance where he is both friendly and creepy in each scene.

StoryThe story here follows a young woman who finds herself pregnant as her boyfriend is killed in an accident, leading to her finding herself trapped in his family home. This is a story that will take us down the road of seeing someone held against their will by a family, who have everyone convinced they are doing it for the right reason, unlike most stories where there is no communication behind why they are doing it. The story does have affine balance between overprotective and doing the right thing with everyone involved. The one biggest weakness in the story does come from the motivation, which does seem like it leaves everything feeling a little bit empty, as we don’t seem to get one.

ThemesKindred is a horror thriller showing us how one family will look to make the pregnancy of a young woman a nightmare, while explaining it is more for her own good, trying to teach her that they are here to help, while keeping her locked away from everybody. The mansion does take the confined pregnancy storyline in a different direction, avoiding the idea of hidden evils in the world, which are usually used for the story.

Final ThoughtsKindred is a creepy horror balancing disturbing with unsettling well.