Retro Halloween Movie Review: Les Diaboliques

So I’m sick in bed for the third day in a row, which means I’ve actually had some time to watch some movies. Choosing the right movie can be tricky. It has to fit your mood, and ideally be really good. (Because who wants to waste time with a crummy movie?) As I was searching through Netflix and Amazon Prime yesterday, I was bemoaning the rating system now available to me. (Seriously, Netflix. I miss your star ratings so much. The % match thing is almost as worthless as what Amazon uses. It feels like everybody loves every movie on Amazon. Always. Junk.)

In cases like these, I typically turn to IMDB ratings. Crowdsourcing for the win. And I came across Les Diaboliques, an old French horror movie that IMDB has listed as #222 of all time. And I hadn’t seen it? Score.

It was done in 1955, and it focuses around two women who plot to murder a man. The twist? It’s the man’s wife and his lover who team up. (And if that doesn’t sound French, I don’t know what does.)

I don’t want to spoil anything for those of you who haven’t seen the movie, but it does an excellent job of ratcheting up the tension bit by bit over time. You think it’s going to zig, and then it zags. There’s not much in the way of gore and guts, but it still manages to be quite disturbing in its depiction of violence.

I had a great time with the film. A bit slow for a perfect score, but an easy 8 or 9 out of 10. I’d probably settle on 8, since I’m trying to be a harder critic. If you haven’t seen it and want a nice spooky film for a Halloween evening (and don’t mind reading subtitles), then definitely check it out. Horror has come a long way since, but you can definitely see the influence this movie had its descendants.

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