The Diabolical review – brisk, atmospheric haunted-house horror

Fright fans looking for Halloween kicks could do much worse than this decent if unoriginal chiller

Though that title’s asking for trouble, this is, in fact, serviceable sleepover fodder in the post-Insidious mode, with bankrupt single mom Ali Larter finding the wolves at her door are nothing compared to the suppurating demons crawling through her kitchen at regular intervals. Possessed tumble dryer aside, there’s barely an original idea in it – the big reveal cribs from an established sci-fi touchstone, offering the comparative novelty of a house haunted by the future – but writer-director Alistair Legrand fashions something brisk and modestly atmospheric, resisting the quiet-quiet-loud mechanics of recent forays into the paranormal to dig into the mystery of why this family’s underlit suburban home has become a portal for flesh-ripping spectres: here, Larter – joining Sinister 2’s Shannyn Sossamon among the ranks of millennial poster girls turned worry-worn maternal presences – gives a strong and sympathetic performance. Nothing out of the ordinary, but it’ll keep anyone planning a Halloween all-nighter awake and interested.


Mike McCahill

The GuardianTramp

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