From the director of Late Phases and Here Comes The Devil, Scherzo Diabolico is a highly charged and tense affair that plays out as a dark modern fable about greed, power and revenge, that might just be Adrian Garcia Bogliano’s strongest film so far.

Aram is a hard working accountant, underappreciated at his work and neglected by his wife. With his life stuck in a loop of perpetual disappointment and no prospect of improving his life status, he decides to do something radical. He develops a cunning plan to kidnap the teenage daughter of his boss, a strategy to unravel his life and allow Aram to take over. The events that follow will change Aram’s life…however, not as he intends, for his actions unleashes something darker than he could have imagined.

The narrative plays as tightly as classic Hitchcock, balancing an intense eye for detail with a playful sensibility focusing, blending the evil of Aram’s machinations with the reality of life in such an un-ordained and yet ridiculous fashion that it creates a beautiful tension. This is reinforced by Bogliano’s direct and yet measured directorial style; the camera feels almost like it is holding back, like Aram himself, waiting for moments to explode with excessive movement, or the editing suddenly jump from formal control into relentless motion, exemplified by a sex scene that blurs Aram’s perspective with that of the prostitute he is sleeping with, the camera rocking furiously and the editing increasing in pace, while the sound distorts along with the action. The contrast flows in an affective manner, teasing the moral descent Aram will inevitably succumb to.

In truth, as the tension of the build up and execution of the crime dissipates, the film threatens to meander into something predictable, reveling too greatly on Aram’s glory. However, just at this critical point, the film explodes into life with a concluding act that plays as the film’s viscous punch line…it’s grisly and glorious crescendo. The unraveling is perfect, captured with tremendous energy by Bogliano’s roving camera and sharp editing, while the sudden impact of gore and violence that are introduced act as a shock right through the core of the film. As the insanity grows, the film becomes absolutely gripping, right up to the last moment of absolute carnage that will leave the audience half cheering, half gasping…eccentric and electric.

Ultimately, Scherzo Diabolico stands as an elegantly composed, pitch black comedy, that burns slowly initially, and as the flame feels ready to be extinguished…sparks into life with a kinetic and relentless explosion of revenge fuelled violence, that lifts the film and completes the dark overture Bogliano has composed.


Frightfest London review: Scherzo Diabolico
3.5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (3 Votes)

About The Author

Matthew Hammond is a full time cinephile, specializing in cult, art house and 1980s cinema. While film is his overwhelming passion, Matthew has been known to enjoy comic books, Sherlock Holmes stories and a good film related T-shirt. Feel free to email me with any questions or comments: