He’s a pretty mild mannered guy. He’s an accountant with a wife and son. He’s one of the most trusted men in the office. He’s also stalking a teenage girl and is going through a step-by-step plan to kidnap her. Why? That would be spoiling things. Who is she? So far as we know she is just a teenage girl. So how can I describe this film? That’s the trouble- there aren’t many ways to describe this film that doesn’t spoil things. So keep on reading as I try to navigate the rough and winding road through this psychotic little tarnished gem of a film- and then throw it on your Netflix Queue because this one is going to leave you shocked and numb.
This little import from Mexico is an intense psychological thriller that gets downright gruesome toward the end. It left me somewhat numb at the end- sort of buzzing with a bunch of mixed feelings. Aram, the lead character, is not a good man by any stretch of the imagination. He is planning something horrible. It isn’t entirely clear that his plan is all that necessary for him to achieve his goal. What he does and how it spirals through the rest of the story is a dark stain that creeps into the viewer and leaves them wondering where everything is going to go. And then there are the scenes with his victim- watching her struggle against her bonds and seeing her trapped within an abandoned warehouse where he’s holding her captive through most of the film. And he leaves her alone through most of that.
This isn’t a straight forward film that delivers it’s major points right off the bat- it slowly unwraps and exposes a dark and bloody center which will leave the viewer scarred. Director Adrián García Bogliano, does a fantastic job of crafting a tense thriller throughout the first two thirds of the film- but it's the final third of the film where the film turns itself on a screw. The film is reminiscent of some Korean thrillers over the years but develops a personality all its own. The very last frame of the film left my heart beating in an uncomfortable rhythm and I felt hollow to my core. I wanted to cry- and I felt a sort of shame and fear. As an emotional roller coaster, Scherzo Diabolico works and delivers one heart pounding smash after another.
However, there are some clear plot holes and some of the contrivances never really seem to work as anything more than a thing of convenience to move the story along. Few characters ever really earn our compassion and the lead is never meant to be a likeable person.
8 out of 10.