FrightFest review – The Diabolical

DiabolicalThe Diabolical 


Like The Pact, which was also produced by Ross M. Dinerstein, writer-director Alistair Legrand’s The Diabolical starts out as a haunted house movie in the Sinister-Paranormal-Insidious vein but then treads into a different genre … psycho-horror in the cased of The Pact, and timewarping science fiction (with an obvious nod to one particular twice-told tale) here.  The set-up gives single Mom Madison (Ali Larter) a lot of problems, especially since her gifted son Danny (Thomas Kuc) has anger management issues which mean the family is under social worker scrutiny and she’s behind with the payments on a house on which she oddly refuses to take a buyout offer from a smoothly sinister businessman (Patrick Fischler) representing a tech corporation.  By night, the house is troubled by flashes of light and the appearance of several different mutilted, shimmering human figures.  The haunting so so dire that parapsychologists flee in terror but  Madison’s daughter Haley (Chloe Perris) is strangely unafraid of the intruders, and Madison’s scientist boyfriend Nikolai (Arjun Gupta) holds back vital knowledge of his involvement in a project that may explain what’s going on (he notes that teleportation is a good twenty years’ away, heavily hinting at where this is going).  On top of all this, Madison’s children suffer from a weird syndrome whereby they sicken and develop black-vein syndrome if they get too far away from the house where all the terrifying activity is taking place.  As with most of these contemporary bump-in-the-night movies, the pudding is overegged by the sheer number of phenomena – and plot circumstances – that make things difficult for the lead characters, and there’s a risk that the scary moments and a few excellent performances will get lost in all the flashing and banging.




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