Sunday, May 1, 2016

SCHERZO DIABOLICO: Adrián García Bogliano's best yet gets VOD/Digital HD debut this week

The Spanish genre filmmaker Adrián García Bogliano -- who, a couple of years back, gave us the very interesting, low-key horror film Here Comes the Devil, and followed that up with a good episode from the horror omnibus, The ABCs of Death, then handed us a pretty crappy werewolf attempt called Late Phases -- is back this week with his latest and best endeavor so far, a dark, often surprising, and very nasty kidnap thriller called SCHERZO DIABOLICO.

Bogliano, shown at left, seems most often to deal with not-very-healthy family situations, not to mention people to whom it is rather difficult to warm. While this makes what happens to many of his characters a tad easier to accept, it can also distance us from his film's protagonists. This is very much the case with Scherzo Diabolico, the protagonist of which is a short-but-not-unattractive family man (his small fingers would not reach an octave, or so his piano teacher once told him: Listen up, Donald Trump!) whose boss refuses to pay him for overtime and whose wife is all-too-quick with the insults.

So our "hero" hatches a very oddball plot, the putting-into-action of which proves both bizarre and hugely disconcerting. Though it involves kidnapping, there's really no rape or torture included, yet so absolutely thoughtless of the mental well-being of his prisoner is our guy that what eventually happens, while it takes quite a leap of faith, is also so bizarre and joltingly effective that genre aficionados are likely remain on board right through the vicious finale.

Some kind of vengeance is on almost everybody's mind in this thriller, and Bogliano's penchant for exploring narcissistic egos and dysfunctionality is put to fine use. To go further into plot would simply spoil things. Suffice it to say that the musical score, which makes use of some good classical stuff, is top-notch, and the performances are, too -- right down the line.

Especially fine are Bogliano regular Francisco Barreiro (above and further above) as the corporate-ladder-climbing male and Daniela Soto Vell (below, and three photos up) as his "victim." Both are terrifically compelling and believable. And the filmmaker is getting especially good at bouncing back and forth between subtlety and shock, dark comedy and sheer horror. This is a wild ride, but it's one that you'll likely remember for awhile, even given our continuing glut of more-than-passably-entertaining genre movies.

Scherzo Diabolico -- from Dark Sky Films and running 91 minutes -- hits VOD and Digital HD this Tuesday, May 3, for either purchase or rental. I watched the DVD version of the film, and on the disc is a very enjoyable bonus feature in which three of the film's five good actresses talk about their roles as the strong women behind the weak men in the movie. Two of the three actresses' ideas are smart and provocative and make this maybe-20-minute "extra" very much worth watching.  

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