The Diabolical (2015) – By Kirsten Walsh


With a beautiful poster (the one with the 80’s flair), I was intrigued. While I wouldn’t say I regret that intrigue, but I was left in the cold with this film. It is a film that just doesn’t know what it wants to be, transitioning from horror to sci-fi with the drop of a—oh wait, that word was just transported.

Ali Larter is a welcome face to a horror fan. Having dug her young heels in during “Final Destination”, she also carried a healthy amount of the first few seasons of “Heroes”. She can be perceived as somewhat over dramatic, especially in this film. However, she serves as one of the only adults in the film, and is the only adult in several scenes throughout. She plays her character with a vulnerability that demonstrates motherhood, as well as the strengths that come from survival.

The film is depicted in the marketing materials as something that it is not- a haunted house movie. From the get go, we are trapped in the house with mother Madison (Larter) and her two children, Jacob and Haley. At some point, it is made blatant that if the children even leave the house, then they are marked or punished with burns. So much is left to interpretation, which wouldn’t be bad if this was not a M. Night Shyamalan film.

If a film could be put into a simple analogy, it would be like tying a Christmas bow on a present (the complicated kind). Each storyline or character is a separate string that is tied into the bow and the overarching film is the knot. “The Diabolical” is the loosest bow that a young child put together and that gets thrown out with the scrap pieces before the presents are even set under the tree. While the cinematography is good, the music is lost, trying to define what the film is. The sound is good- this film was definitely a decently budgeted film.

But the story lacks so much, giving way to holes about Madison’s husband and the company attempting to buy the house. There are several scenes that may add support to the argument behind the film, but the film would have been just as fine, if not better, without the scenes.

Are horror movies done being creative? This film started with true momentum, but then fell flat, especially during the ending. Many others who have seen this film say that it is a half-thought. A film that just ends suddenly, giving way for a sequel. Too many films today do that, and many of them fall flat on their faces.  It is ambitious, and pays off handsomely if the film takes off, but “The Diabolical” is not one of those films.

Would I watch it again? Probably not. Unfortunately, the plot was boring and dull, not holding on to my attention.

Want to check it out for yourself? You can rent it on Amazon instant: