Starring Ali Larter, Max Rose, Chloe Perrin, Arjun Gupta
Directed by Alistair Legrand
When Madison (Ali Larter from Resident Evil’s Extinction and Afterlife), a struggling single mother of two young children (Max Rose and Chloe Perrin), is tormented by an increasingly disturbing and intense presence in their suburban home, she basically gives up and decides to just live with it as best she can. Unlike most horror movies of this ilk, we don’t go through the motions of seeing the haunting from its very beginning.
The evil entity is already in full swing when we tune in. Madison has tried everything, and nothing has worked to rid the home of its unwanted intruder. Even the simple act of running from one room to the next is an exercise in futility, as the ghost can easily walk through walls and enter anywhere from floor to ceiling. What else can be done?
Eventually, Madison’s new boyfriend, Nikolai (Arjun Gupta from “Nurse Jackie”), finds out about her daily terror and jumps in to help. Needless to say, the horror only increases as the sinister spirit finds itself a fresh new victim. Subplots include a mystery involving the loss of Madison’s husband and constant visits to the house by a relentless bill collector (Patrick Fischler from “Californication”).
The phantom itself is a curious cypher, who, when its true nature is revealed, becomes that much scarier. As a corporeal being in the film, he’s a burned, gory mess like something out a Clive Barker story. But unfortunately, the CGI augmentation softens the audacity of the F/X makeups (too many artists to name).
First-time writer/director Alistair Legrand makes an impressive feature film debut with The Diabolical, a rather large undertaking when it comes to cast, complexity, and special effects. Not all of them are juggled to perfection, but given all the elements – especially on a fast-track shooting schedule and a moderate budget – The Diabolical stands out as one of the more memorable supernatural thrillers of recent months.