The Diabolical (2015)

Evil is timeless

Writers: Luke Harvis, Alistair Legrand
Director: Alistair Legrand

The Diabolical revolves around single mother Madison (Ali Larter) and her two young children. Things aren’t going well for them – she’s struggling to pay the mortgage and the boy has developed distinct anger issues since the death of the father. Oh, and there’s a snarling, warped apparition that appears in the house from time to time. What makes this different to many such hauntings is that the apparition is visible to everyone and, whilst scary, doesn’t appear to mean them any harm. At least initially…

The film starts off really well, getting right into the action and providing lots of atmosphere. The back story is built up slowly and several possible explanations for what’s going on are teased.

Then, about half way in, we get our first hint as to the full story. Which is where it starts going downhill. It’s quite a swerve from what I’d been expecting, which isn’t a bad thing. The idea is a good one. The problem is that the way it plays out relies on a series of coincidences and hand-waving. It’s not convincing and becomes less so as time goes on.

Despite the problems with the narrative in the second half, the way it’s presented is still strong; the desire to watch overcame my desire to groan! And the final confrontation is extremely well done… until the very last shot of the film which needs to be surgically erased from every copy of the DVD.

Overall I really liked what The Diabolical was trying to do, it’s just that the script in the last half is a little too neat and lazy. However good performances from all the cast together with Legrand’s direction carry it as an enjoyable if unsatisfying little film.