Today’s entry is a hybrid of the foreign and flashback entries. “Diabolique” (french for ‘Devil’), is a simple black-&-white film about a hurting wife and her husband’s mistress, and their plan to get rid of him. If you’ve heard of stories covering this territory before, I believe it’s safe to say this is one of the earlier versions.
The movie takes place mostly at a boarding school for children. The owner is a woman named Christina who is married to the principal – Michel. He is currently cheating on her with Nicole, but everybody knows about it. But when the wife and mistress get together to have a chat, they both agree that he’s miserable and needs to be dealt with. And they are confident that they have the perfect alibi for the perfect crime.
But once things begin to unfold, we encounter many tense moments of police investigations, ghastly apparitions, and a lot of misdirection. It’s well paced and well performed and builds up to a fantastic ending – one that asks you afterwards not to spoil it for any other patrons.
It’s a whole lot of fun and has a lot to love. The story pulls you in and you kind of root for multiple people and multiple sides, and it all points to a direction you either anticipate or it catches you off guard. Personally, I was very wrong with what I guessed was happening. If you like old school mysteries with tension and a few scary images, then this is a good recommendation. It doesn’t have any real violence, perversion, or even foul language – but it has a lot of atmosphere oozing out of its pores. It’s been remade a few times over the years but this is the perfect version.
“Diabolique” is currently streaming on The Criterion Channel.
‘Til Next Time,
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