Movie Name/Year: The Diabolical (2015)
Tagline: Evil is timeless.
Genre: Thriller, Sci-Fi, Horror
Length: 86 minutes
Production Companies: Campfire
Producer: Jamie Carmichael, Ross M. Dinerstein, Joel Henry, Kevin Iwashina, Andrew Schwarz
Director: Alistair Legrand
Writer: Luke Harvis, Alistair Legrand
Actors: Ali Larter, Arjun Gupta, Max Rose, Chloe Perrin, Merrin Dungey, Patrick Fischler, Kurt Carley, Wilmer Calderon, Laura Margolis, Mark Steger, Tom Wright, Trey Holland, Andrew Varenhorst
Blurb from Netflix: Terrorized by unexplained disturbances and horrific visions in her home, a young widowed mother turns to her scientist boyfriend for help.
Selina’s Point of View:
The people who write the blurbs for Netflix really don’t watch the film do they? The first part of the sentence is spot on. The second part of the sentence makes me face-palm. They didn’t even describe the main character correctly. You’ll see the differences if you watch the movie.
Sorry, had to rant about that.
I found the movie to have good aspects and bad aspects that eventually even out into complete mediocrity.
As a good part, I rather enjoyed the acting in this film. Ali Larter (Pitch, Legends, You’re Not You) did well with her part, Arjun Gupta (The Magicians, Nurse Jackie, HairBrained) was a believable scientist… and even the kid actors, Max Rose (Lost Fare, Secret Summer, Criminal Minds) and Chloe Perrin (Papa, Jurassic World, Reckless), were on point. All the actors did the very best they could with the script that was handed to them.
Unfortunately, the script and the plot were not good. I
liked that a couple of well-known tropes were completely dashed in the beginning,
but it all went downhill from there. The story became progressively easier to
predict and the ending was completely unsatisfying. A different end – with maybe
five more minute – would have elevated the film to amazing. The one interesting
twist that could have really made this film unique, was never given closure.
I’m not sure who’s at fault. It could be the writers, but it could also have been the editor. It’s possible that the scenes I think the movie needed could have been filmed and then cut from the final product. That shit happens all the time. If that’s the case, then the film editor, Blair Miller (Mr. Right, Scream 4, Quarantine), has a lot to answer for.
The base idea of the movie was so good that I really wanted to like it more. Unfortunately, regardless of who’s to blame, the film failed to deliver anything more than: meh.
Cat’s Point of View:
I was really hoping to like this movie. I’m a fan of Ali Larter (Obsessed, You're Not You, Legends). Pair that with my love of sci-fi, the supernatural, and the horror genre and you should have had a winner.
That’s right – should have.
The set up here seemed to fit most haunting recipes. The movie’s title implied something sinister going on behind whatever was going to happen to the characters. They tried to flip the script a bit and take the story in an unexpected direction. I have to give them kudos for trying something somewhat original but I don’t think it was executed well enough.
The plot just seemed a bit cobbled together, and I didn’t buy in to the ending.
The kids did a pretty bang up job with their roles, and Larter’s performance was mostly sound. Arjun Gupta (Motherhood, How to Get Away with Murder, French Dirty) was a relative unknown to me. I mostly liked him in this movie but I’m still a bit on the fence.
We’ve had some movies recently that have fed the audience information a tidbit at a time too slowly but surely draw us from a feeling of ‘wtf is going on’ towards the ultimate big reveal. I think they tried to do that with this movie, but weren’t quite so successful.
The majority of the movie had me in supernatural horror zone and there wasn’t enough setup for the rest. It felt like a bit of a smack upside the head rather than the epiphany that I think they were going for. I don’t think they spent enough time with how they tied things together in the last quarter of the movie.
The effects were ok through most of it, but there were points that I got the impression of a hologram or projected image rather than what they were really trying to sell me. I don’t know – maybe that’s what they were really going for.
All in all – I didn’t want to turn it off or anything and I didn’t hate it, but I won’t be watching this again. I’m not sure it would be very high on my list of recommendations, either.
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 43%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 17%
Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 2.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score – 2.5/5
Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 2.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score – 2/5
The Random Rating: R