Madison (Ali Larter) is experiencing strange apparitions at her house. It seems the place is haunted, but no one can help her. The paranormal investigators she hired even flee the scene. Luckily her scientist boyfriend may be able to help her and her children in finding out the house’s terrible secret.
I watched this the other night. Curled up underneath a blanket, with a packet of crisps and a soda, ready to be scared witless. My wife even retreated to the kitchen, claiming “the sound alone is scaring me already”. From the get-go I thought The Diabolical was a winner. A haunted house and strange hellraiser-esque monsters? The wife is out, but I’m in!
At least I was, for the first scene and the credit sequence. Super scary! The rest of the movie? Not so much. There are some jump-scare moments, but they’re so predictable, I didn’t even flinch. All of the superscary monsters are used in the first few scenes as well. Afterwards, we just get the one monster. Who isn’t even a monster. Just some scarred dude in white pajamas.
We were off to a great start, but about a third in, all of the scary is lost. Maybe because of that weird plot twist, that turns the movie from horror into scifi. I get that. I get the plot twist, and I even thought it was quite clever. But I think it was a giant mistake to concentrate the marketing heavily on the horror aspect. Just look at that cover art. Screams horror to me. Same thing with the blurb on the box: horror. And that title? Pure horror, even though it has nothing to do with the story. Nothing at all.
And then there’s the kids… Kid actors are always a liability: either they’re good, or they just plain suck. And while these two are quite good, their characters just aren’t believable. Their house is haunted, yet they act like they don’t mind one bit. Honestly, it’s as if they’re under the impression that “haunted” means “there’s some ants in the kitchen cupboards”. They look that worried.
So good movie? I’d go with so-so. Watch this if you’re not ready for superscary, or if you just want to ogle Ali Larter.