3 May 2016
Adrian Garcia Bogliano
Adrian Garcia Bogliano
Francisco Barreiro as: Aram
Daniela Soto Vell
Sexy, sick, gory, shocking, disturbing, funny, wild: all different adjectives yet they all describe Scherzo Diabolico.
Aram (Francisco Barreiro) is a hard-working middle manager, who puts in overtime, yet doesn’t get paid. His boss (Jorge Molina) doesn’t appreciate him as much as he should. His beautiful wife (Milena Pezzi) is terribly disappointed in him. But, he is hatching a slowly unveiled plan to kidnap a pretty high school girl (Daniela Soto Vell) that he is obsessed with. He succeeds in doing so and holds her captive in an abandoned warehouse. Here he tortures her mentally and physically.
To reveal anything more would be to ruin this movie. The less you know about Scherzo Diabolico the better, as it is filled with surprises and plot twists and turns. The best part is that unlike some movies, the twists really have a great pay-off. The only other thing I will is that the title refers to a well known classic piano piece that appears on his CD compilation. This plays a big part in the plot as well, but I won’t tell you how. Suffice to say that it is the spark that sets in motion the third and final act of the movie. This is easily one of the most wild and shocking horror movies to come down the pike in a very long time. This one managed to make even a very jaded viewer, such as myself, jaw drop many kinds.
Mexican writer/director Adrian Garcia (Here Comes the Devil, Late Phases) Bogliano gives this movie a very stylish look and feel. It is clearly influenced by Korean, genre cinema and Darío Argento, and as such is one of the best looking horror movies out there currently. It contains some wonderful crane shots, an excellent use of shadows, colors, and jarring, shakey camera takes – all of which makes for an exciting, visual spectacle.
He complements this very well with his exciting script. The complex characters and their changing and evolving personalities come to light excellently onscreen. It’s great to see the shift that they go through thanks to what happens to them and the circumstances they are in. To fully make this believable its’, of course, going to need great acting. Thankfully this movie delivers on that front as well. Francisco Barreiro is great as the main character, Aram. At first he appears to be sweet and quiet. But, we soon learn that he is a perverse psychopath. Equally complex is Daniela Soto Vell as the seemingly helpless victim. Yet, as the movie progresses her character evolves, strengthens, and completely changes from when we first meet her.
The rest of the cast gives our two leads excellent leads solid support, including Jorge Molina as his boss. We sympathize with his character, as we learn what’s happened to him. His, himself, is also a very complex character, and that’s truly one of the shining aspects about this movie. Its characters really exist more of a gray area, rather than clear cut black and white heroes and villains. This makes this movie far more captivating and deeper, than perhaps it would have been had somebody else made it.
As its title might allude to, music is a character all of unto itself. And I don’t just mean the classical music, which plays such an important role in the plot itself, but the excellent score by Sealtiel Alatriste as well. There is one point in the film where the music becomes almost heavy metal in how loud and aggressive it is. Even the aforementioned classical music does something similar at a different and highly emotional point in the movie.
The gore FX by Paco Limon is excellently gruesome. Included in the graphic mayhem are: torture, bludgeonings, a spectacular, exploding head, and more. The movie also features a good amount of nudity which ranges from the sexy and provocative to the disturbing and decidedly uncomfortable. They reflect the shifts in tone which is as complex as the characters contained within the story.
Scherzo Diabolico really manages to get under your skin and be seriously disturbing. But, then suddenly it becomes very darkly funny or sometimes very suspenseful. At other moments, it’s also totally over the top, perhaps too much so, making it a bit unbelievable. But, this also adds to what makes it fun. So that even one of the movie’s few detriments, actually end up being something complementary to the film, itself. Which is considerably very rare, I mean how many movies can turn a fault into a plus?
Perhaps my only other complaint is in this movie is that it is described as a horror comedy, yet some of the material is far too uncomfortable to be considered funny. In fact, at times its disturbing content reaches the level of horror films like Maniac or Don’t Go in the House. That said, there are still some really funny moments, but I wouldn’t I wouldn’t go as far as calling it a horror comedy. Still there is something to be said about its juxtaposition of humor and uncomfortable subject matter that do gain it points of admiration.
Sexy, sick, gory, shocking, disturbing, funny, wild: all different adjectives yet they all describeScherzo Diabolico. This is easily the best horror movie that’s come from Mexico since Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. And, unlike so many crappy direct to video movies that look to repulse and shock with their horrific nastiness this one really manages to be actually shocking and disturbing, without trying as hard. And, yet somehow still be funny, albeit in blackly humorous manner. And, thanks to its gorgeous, Latin female cast; it has some of moments of sexiness, in it. In all, this is truly one of the most complex and fascinating horror films, I have seen recently. I hope that it gets a wider release (I saw it at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC) because I truly, highly recommended it.