Aram (Francisco Barreiro) is a workaholic, always putting in overtime to get the job done but never getting paid for his efforts. He’s underappreciated by his boss (Jorge Molina) and always gives 110%. At home, he and his wife (Milena Pezzi) have a rocky relationship and he’s a bit disconnected to his young son. The pressure of his day to day life is taking its toll on him and he has devised a plan to make things better. This plan involves the kidnapping of a high school girl (Daniela Soto Vell) who he has an obsession with. He plans out the act with precision, taking his time to make sure there are no mistakes. After he does kidnap her, what happens then? How will it affect him and the relationships with those around him? He has no clue what the repercussions will be but it’s a risk he’s willing to take and the outcome may end up being something he never expected.
HERE COMES THE DEVIL was an intensely bizarre film that epitomized the term “slow-burn”. With SCHERZO DIABOLICO (set to be released in the U.K. as EVIL GAMES) writer/director Adrian Garcia Bogliano has mastered the risky technique. It’s risky since it doesn’t always work, it can backfire and you lose your audience. With DIABOLICO, Garcia relies on the talents of actor Francisco Barreiro to carry the film, and he does so with ease. The first act of the film focuses on who he is, his relationships, then ultimately, the planning of the kidnapping. These moments could drag for some since it takes awhile to see where things are going but they’re essential to the bigger picture. Barreiro is such an interesting actor, he makes these slower moments far more enticing than they could have been.
The film basically has a classical music score which is also used as an important plot device in the film. The way it enters into the story is very clever and eventually the musical association moves the film into uncharted and unexpected territory. I can’t divulge anymore details since it will in turn reveal spoilers that could ruin your viewing experience. The subject matter (a middle aged man kidnapping a teenage girl) is a bit touchy. Thankfully, Bogliano is smart enough to never take it into exploitation territory and focuses on psychological intimidation instead.
While the first half of the film is a “slow-burn”, the second half (especially the final act) is a frantic and brutally magnificent conclusion you won’t see coming. The less you know about SCHERZO DIABOLICO the better and Adrian Garcia Bogliano is well on his way to becoming a master at his craft and one of the few directors working in the genre who is continually trying to better himself without repeating what he does and delivering films that are original, twisted, and satisfying.