Friday, July 15, 2011

Diabolique - The Psycho Ending

When a man abuses his wife and mistreats his mistress, what twisted plan can these female victims devise? As we find out in Henri-Georges Clouzot's thriller Diabolique (1955), nothing but a tale of murder and paranoia arise.

The plot is simple: The fragile wife is convinced by the strong-willed mistress to kill her abusive husband. Making the murder look like a drowning, the ladies dispose of the body in a murky pool. After a few days go by and the body has yet to be discovered, the two ladies have the pool drained and the body is gone. Paranoid where the body went, the women start to question:
  • Is someone toying with us by removing the body?
  • Or is this guy really dead?
With these questions, the audience is kept in suspense. The longer the body is gone, the more creepy and supernatural the movie gets. Since this film takes place in an all boys school, the children claim the principal (meaning the "dead" husband) has been stalking around the campus. As the frequency of these "wise tales" flourish, the women become more terrified the husband isn't really dead. Backed with black and white imagery, you can't help but stay on the edge of your seat. And looking at this haunting screen shot, how can you not be disturbed by this film?

As of late, I try not to reveal the endings in my movie reviews. At times, I write selfishly to remind me of the whole movie from beginning to end. However, if I spoiled this ending, not only would I be doing a disservice, but I'd be disobeying the last wishes of the film's final title card: "Don't be devils. Don't ruin the interest your friends could take in this film. Don't tell them what you saw. Thank you for them."

Overall, I really enjoyed this film. Yes, it's subtitled, but I promise it doesn't take anything away from the film. Just imagine you're watching the French scenes from Inglourious Basterds (but this is a little more creepy).

So on Death List Five, Diabolique ranks #4.

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