Movie Review: SCHERZO DIABOLICO (2015)

We’ve all had that moment when we needed a change.  Some of us have even fantasized about such an extreme change that our whole world would be turned upside down.  Then we are reminded that we have a job, loved ones, a home, familiarity and we laugh off the idea and move on with our day.  But what if you decided you had enough of your life, your nagging wife, and your demanding job.  What if you decided it was time to take matters into your own hands?  Take the idea of what you would do and dial up the notch to 100 and you have the newest film from Adrian Garcia Bogliano, “Scherzo Diabolico.”

The best way that I can describe “Scherzo Diabolico” is if you were to hop on the crazy train with no end in site.  “Scherzo Diabolico” is absolutely insane and I loved it from the beginning score to the nail-crushing end.  Director Adrian Garcia Bogliano was first introduced to me through his 2012 film “Here Comes the Devil” and then subsequently through the 2014 film “Late Phases” which I loved.  When I heard that Bogliano was making a new film I was completely on-board and excited to see what he would come up with next.  “Scherzo Diabolico” (which means Diabolical Joke in Italian) centers around Aram (Francisco Barreiro), a bored accountant who can’t seem to get things right in his life.  He gets passed over for a promotion at his job, his wife is demeaning towards him, and he’s watching his life pass before his eyes.  One day he decides to plan out a scheme to get what he believes he is rightfully owed.  After executing his plan of kidnap and ransom, things go from bad to worse and he comes to realize he has made a deadly mistake.

What I love about this film, regardless of any flaws that may be shown, is that no one is 100% evil or 100% good.  All the lines are blurred with each character and the film perfectly shows what people are willing to turn a blind eye too when they are getting what they want.  We are so used to there being such a definitive line between someone that is good and someone that is evil that one forgets that that is rarely ever the case.  There is always a gray area where morality comes to play and a life altering decision can be made at the drop of the dime.  I absolutely loved that Bogliano made each character absolutely and completely flawed.  It made the characters more relatable and it gave them a humanistic quality.  Speaking of which, the actors that portrayed the characters were incredible.  Francisco Barreiro, in person, is so kind and welcoming that seeing him play Aram in the film was almost jarring.  However, that’s a sign of quality acting, to be able to portray something that is unlike who you are in real life.  On the surface, it was easy to hate Aram, but when everything begins to play out, a small part of you, against your will, begins to feel bad for him.  However, it begs the question of if everything that is happening to him is justifiable.  Does he deserve it due to what his character was capable of doing? As good as Francisco Barreiro is (and he’s damn good), the breakout star for me was Daniela Soto Vell.  Without giving away too much of her role (and parts of the film) I can wholeheartedly say she could hold her own in this film.  Her transformation from the beginning of the film towards the end was intense and jaw dropping.  I literally never saw what was coming and her character owned every scene she was in.  Overall, everyone’s acting was superb and one of the best parts of this film.

As much as I enjoyed “Scherzo Diabolico” there were a few flaws that I encountered.  Some of the storyline seemed to be off-kiltered in a few places and the ending, as epic as it was, left me with some unanswered questions. Normally I don’t have a problem with that, but I wanted to know specifics about Daniela Soto Vell’s character and how she was able to transform so drastically into what seemed like a machine.  I was able to look past these flaws because the movie was so bizarre and fun that it lead me to suspend reality and just enjoy what I was seeing on the screen.  Another aspect of the film that was unique was score.  We find out that Aram originally wanted to play piano so throughout the entire film we are presented with an amazing classical score that goes in tune with everything happening on screen.  It was almost as if the music was it’s own character, seducing Aram along, and comforting him when everything falls apart.

Overall, “Scherzo Diabolico” was an incredibly fun, energetic, violent, funny, and twisted film and one of the best out-of-the-box films I’ve seen in 2016.  I was completely surprised with the twist and turns of the stories and completely shocked with the ending and I applaud Bogliano for making the characters relatable and deeply flawed.  “Scherzo Diabolico” is a must-see film and a smart one at that and I hope Adrian Garcia Bogliano continues the path that he is on so that we can see more unique and startling horror films for decades to come.

Shannon McGrew
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