Diabolique

1996

Drama / Horror / Mystery / Thriller

0
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 18%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 34%
IMDb Rating 5.5 10 13441

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
March 28, 2021 at 03:39 AM

Cast

Kathy Bates as Det. Shirley Vogel
J.J. Abrams as Video Photographer #2
Donal Logue as Video Photographer #1
Isabelle Adjani as Mia Baran
720p.WEB
986.59 MB
1280*714
English 2.0
R
23.976 fps
1 hr 47 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by JamesHitchcock 4 / 10

My Attention Was Glued to my Watch

Oscar Wilde was one of the great wits of his age, but he was allegedly not averse to appropriating other people's bons mots. It is said that after his friend and rival James Whistler had made a particularly apposite remark, Wilde sighed and said "I wish I had said that!". Whistler's reply was "You will, Oscar, you will". The American film industry has a similar attitude to other people's films to the one that Wilde had to other people's conversation. When the European- particularly the British or French- film industry comes up with a particularly admired film, Hollywood gives a collective sigh and says "We wish we had made that!" You will, Hollywood, you will!

Recent years have seen a glut of remakes of European films, but, admittedly, the results of this creative plagiarism are by no means always bad. The plot of "Sommersby" may have been blatantly lifted from "Le Retour de Martin Guerre", but it is still a good film in its own right. Moreover, I was one of those who thought that Luc Besson's "Nikita" did not lose much in translation when it was remade as the Bridget Fonda vehicle "The Assassin". Sometimes, however, Hollywood manages to come up with a remake that is so inferior to its original model that the two films do not deserve to be mentioned in the same breath. "Diabolique" is a case in point.

Henri-Georges Clouzot's "Les Diaboliques" was one of the classic thrillers of the fifties, as good as the best of Hitchcock's work. Jeremiah Chechik's remake borrows the same basic plot of the original, but transfers it from 1950s France to 1990s America. At the centre is the sadistic headmaster of a private school, a man who brutally mistreats not only the boys in his care but also his wife and even his beautiful mistress. The wife and mistress,tired of his mistreatment, plot together to murder him and to dispose of his body in the filthy school swimming pool, but when the pool is later drained the body has disappeared. As in the original, there is a sudden, surprise twist at the end. Chechik also, however,introduces elements that were not in Clouzot's film. The wife, Mia, here becomes a former nun, who has renounced her vows after losing her faith, but is still haunted by guilt. There is a suggestion of a lesbian relationship between Mia and the mistress, Nicole. Chechik also introduces a major character, in the form of a female detective, with no equivalent in the original film.

"Diabolique" has come in for some sharp criticism, largely because it is a remake of a classic. It is a mediocre film rather than a horrendously bad one, and if we did not have its famous predecessor to compare it with, it would doubtless be seen as just another banal and unsuccessful crime thriller. Nevertheless, I think that the criticism it has attracted is justified. Chechik must have known that one of the perils of remaking a film is that your work will be weighed in the balance against the original, and woe betide you if it is found wanting. And, compared with Clouzot's, Chechik's film is wanting indeed. He lacks the French director's sense of pacing and ability to convey suspense, with the result that his film is slow-moving where the original was brisk and flabby where the original was taut.

I was also disappointed by the acting. Isabelle Adjani can be a fine actress in her own language, as she showed in "La Reine Margot", but I have not been impressed with her in English-language films, and here her character never came to life. Sharon Stone was slightly better as the hard-bitten, sluttish Nicole, but this was not really one of her better performances and did nothing to alter my view that she has not always chosen the best vehicles in which to show off her talents. Chazz Palminteri's headmaster was almost too unpleasant to be believable, and Kathy Bates seemed wasted as the detective. Watching Clouzot's film I was glued to the screen with anticipation as I wondered how the film would end; watching Chechik's, my attention was rather glued to my watch as I wondered when it would end. 4/10

Reviewed by debblyst 1 / 10

It's so bad it's an insult to all involved- blame the director!

To venture a remake of Clouzot's "Les Diaboliques" (1955) -- a film that needed no remake in the first place -- only one thing was crucial: a very creative filmmaker with a very personal style, so as to put away comparisons with the classic French film. Someone like Kubrick, Von Trier, Amenábar, Chabrol, Jeunet...

Instead we have Chechik's ludicrous, inept direction, making the experienced crew's efforts simply bomb: the cinematography is flat, the music is predictable, the script is stale, the pace is sloooow, and he manages to withdraw bad performances from EVERYONE in the cast, including the usually reliable Kathy Bates, besides achieving the incredible feat of making Isabelle Adjani look like she's just escaped from Madame Tussaud's, and cruelly exposing the unmistakably limited talents of Sharon Stone (who manages to look like a dominatrix in the role of a Catholic school teacher!!) and Chazz Palminteri.

When a film is THIS bad, considering the names involved and the amount of money spent, it's really an insult to everyone, most of all to the audience (of course). After this bomb, you'd think Hollywood directors would just leave classic thrillers alone -- but Gus Van Sant went on to commit the catastrophic remake of "Psycho".... Don't waste your time - just don't watch it, especially if you are a fan of the original film or of the stars!!! My vote: since IMDb doesn't allow zeroes, 1/10 is more than it deserves.

Reviewed by aimless-46 6 / 10

Blame The Director-Not the Cast

With some of Hollywood's worst trash on his resume, Director Jeremiah Chechik gives us something slightly better than his worst ("The Avengers") and much worse than his best ("Benny and Joon").

This oddly unsatisfying 1996 remake of the classic 1955 French thriller illustrates Hollywood's ham handed ability to turn a classic suspense tale into a weak atmosphere piece. I say oddly because Isabelle Adjani and Sharon Stone are together on the screen for almost the entire film and the two actresses truly bring out the best in each other. So you have a long series of well-played scenes by fine actresses, but they are strung together into a slow paced story line that lacks unity and consistent motivation. Which could be caused by a lot of things but is most likely the result of trimming in post-production, in which important unifying elements were left on the cutting room floor. Or it could be that the director and production designer just failed to translate the writer's vision onto the screen.

Since this ultimately this is a story about an evil character who develops a sentimental side, it is absolutely critical that this process is communicated to the audience. The audience should not just be surprised by the ending but should be able to think back and see all the motivational pieces click into place. In this regard the movie is a complete failure.

Then there is the issue of cheating. Because we only know what he wants to tell us, a director has a variety of legit ways to introduce misdirection and surprise into a film. But occasionally a director lacks the integrity and vision to play by the rules. Such is the case here as only the audience sees the underwater shot of a clearly drowned Guy (Chazz Palminteri). It is shown to convince us that he is dead but this then makes his reanimation impossible. Plus it is fairly useless because you know that he has to come back for there to be much of a story. That is cheating and there is more cheating in the unintentionally comical climatic scene. The beauty of the original movie was the absence of cheating and the macabre irony of the ending. All that is missing.

Whatever, it means that the only reason to watch this version of "Diabolique" is for the acting of Adjani and Stone. Although Adjani was 40-41 years old when she made this film, she has lost little of her beauty. While she was probably the world's most beautiful actress in her twenties, there is simply no debate that she was the most beautiful 40 year-old in cinema history. Stone pretty much plays her hard-as-nails self but she is given some great lines and her character is a great contrast to the ethereal take Adjani gives to her own character.

If you are looking for a better but less obvious remake of the original "Diabolique", track down 1971's "Let's Scare Jessica To Death". This almost forgotten horror classic is truly scary. It has much better production design than 1996's "Diabolique", with creepy whispering and images that stay with you and creep you out even weeks later. Jessica is a woman recently released from a mental "institution" who goes to a farm in a quiet rural area. The odd locals and their local legends begin to mess with Jessica's head as her husband and his secret girlfriend attempt to scare her to death.

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