The Diabolical (2015)

This one isn’t what it seems to be.

That doesn’t mean that it isn’t somewhat familiar territory:  yet another haunted house movie with a one-word title.

This one is about a young, apparently widowed mother with two kids whose already difficult lives are complicated by a series of increasingly frightening events.  Something — or some things — is visiting them, and even the paranormal investigators she brings in run from it in terror.

Now, I’ll concede that I haven’t overdosed on the current wave of such films — I’ve actually seen Insidious (although none of the sequels) and a few others like it, but not much more — but I did find this one reasonably entertaining.  There are some quite eerie images, like the hands that reach out of the ceiling, and some horrible creatures.

But there’s more going on that meets the eye, and the explanation ends up being firmly science fictional — and intimately connected to one of the apparently unrelated plot threads.  It all leads to a genuinely surprising final twist, which pulls the whole story into a new focus and ties even more of the details together.  We’ve seen a lot of films which have tried to copy M. Night Shyamalan’s twist endings, but this is one of the few I’ve seen where the final twist is so carefully integrated into the rest of the story (far too many people seem to miss the fact that Shyamalan’s film are always about the underlying truth and he merely reveals it slowly, a piece at a time).

Unfortunately, I can’t say a lot about the SF elements of this film as that would give away far too much of plot.  But they are reasonably clever and more or less make sense, although certain purists who insist that they understand how something which is currently believed to be impossible would actually work will object to certain critical revelations.

You wouldn’t call this one a great film, but it is reasonably entertaining and not a bad twist on a what has been an overused sub-genre.

And if you are looking for a scary film, with Halloween coming up, you could do a lot worse.

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