Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Diabolical, Ali Larter vs. The Poltergeist

...or so it may appear.  Ali Larter is one of this blog's favorite actresses. From "Final Destination" to her role as Claire Redfield in the "Resident Evil" films, she is impressive.  The pretty blonde can easily take on the role of the kick-but heroine and still keep her femininity.  So today we examine 2015's "The Diabolical." In this film she plays a struggling single parent desperately trying to keep her home and children.  She's tender, tired, and vulnerable.  Sound dull?  Don't worry, by the time the end credits roll...well....you'll see that Claire Redfield side of Ms. Larter again.
As our film begins, Madison (Larter) is under attack from a poltergeist (....or is it?). She repels it, and the next day a team of paranormal investigators flee her home in utter terror. Madison has just gotten rid of an abusive husband and is about to lose her home in bankruptcy.  Her son Jacob (Max Rose) is manifesting violent behavior at school and has drawn the attention of a social worker from the state. Oh yes, her little daughter, Haley (Chloe Perrin), actually converses with the entity.  So what is the big deal? Each visit by the entity results in more horror. Sometimes it looks like a bald fiend in a jump-suit, other times it looks like some humanoid that has just been microwaved. As the thing starts injuring her children, Madison gets more desperate.
Oh yes...a slimy mortgage guy offers Madison way more for her house than it is worth. Why? Is this too good to be true? Yep.  Double uh-oh...she falls in love with Nikolai (Arjun Gupta), a compassionate teacher.  Triple uh oh...they engage in pre-marital sex. Is Nikolai too good to be true?You'll see.  Nikolai discovers Madison's problem (...or does he know more than he is letting on?). He's thrilled because apparently he is an amateur paranormal investigator. Together with Madison they go to work and the discoveries they make are surprising. An all right, but underwhelming ghost story? That's what "The Diabolical" looks like. But wait! The last twenty minutes is a game changer. Gore, blades, circular saws, impalement, gun shots, ice picks, saws, and slashings abound!
The ending is weird...and then it gets weirder. No spoilers here, but you'll be thinking about this ending for quite awhile. Just who is that slimy mortgage guy? Is Nikolai a friend or foe? Exactly what is that entity that keeps terrorizing Ali Larter and her family? Will Madison's pre-marital sex lead to carnage for her and her children?  Available on Netflix, do not turn "The Diabolical" off after the first hour or you will miss a terrific tale. So as we eagerly await the next "Resident Evil" film, enjoy this one.

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