Diabolique

1996

Diabolique

Critics Consensus

This seedy remake of a classic French chiller goes through the motions in recreating the original's diabolical plot, but without the genuine suspense or stylistic finesse.

18%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 28

34%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,936
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Movie Info

A remake of Clouzot's classic thriller Les Diaboliques, this American version follows the same basic plotlines for the bulk of the film but then towards the end branches out in new directions that for those familiar with the original 1955 film may find ineffective and disappointing (some purists may find the whole film a blasphemous travesty). Set in a remote, decaying boarding school run by the brutish, controlling Guy Baran. His wife Mia actually owns the school, but her husband runs it. Knowing that she has a fragile heart and could die soon, Guy does all he can to keep her upset. This includes openly having an affair with teacher Nicole Horner, whom he also abuses. One day both women decide that they have had enough and hatch a devious plot to murder Guy. This is where the notorious bathtub scene comes into play though most agree that Clouzot did it much better than this film's director Jeremiah Chechik. Afterward, the women take Guy's body to the school's murky outdoor swimming pool and toss it in, hoping that anyone finding him will think he accidentally drowned. Eventually the pool is drained, but no body turns up, leaving the women to wonder, did he really die, or did someone else know about their crime?

Cast

Sharon Stone
as Nicole Horner
Isabelle Adjani
as Mia Baran
Kathy Bates
as Shirley Vogel
Spalding Gray
as Simon Veatch
Shirley Knight
as Edie Danziger
Allen Garfield
as Leo Katzman
Adam Hann-Byrd
as Erik Pretzer
Donal Logue
as Video Photographer
J.J. Abrams
as Video Photographer
Diana Bellamy
as Ms. Vawze
Clea Lewis
as Lisa Campos
O'Neal Compton
as Irv Danziger
Stephen Liska
as PHP Officer
Jim Kisicki
as Rear-Ender
Kevin Vinay
as Desantis
James Kisicki
as Rear-ender
Kate Young
as Photo Shop Clerk
Hank Stohl
as Morgue Cop
Jesse Sky Ross
as Hall Monitor
View All

Critic Reviews for Diabolique

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (5) | Rotten (23)

  • The husband is still a brute, and the swimming pool is still moldy, but the new Diabolique fails to translate into anything more than the latest ham-handed Hollywood makeover of a European classic.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/4

    Mike Clark

    USA Today
    Top Critic
  • Film lovers should study the two Diaboliques side by side, in order to see how the Hollywood assembly line trashed its treasure from the past.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • The plot and premise of Diabolique are absurdly implausible, but that's the power of good movies: they make you believe in the impossible.

    Jun 19, 2019 | Full Review…
  • There are problems with Stone's performance, which lacks the requisite ambiguity to make sense of the plot. But Adjani carries Diabolique by creating a Mia who is susceptible to any hint that the dead man may somehow have risen

    May 2, 2018 | Full Review…
  • The new Diabolique mostly dispenses with subtlety, contenting itself with regularly scheduled cathartic jolts that pass for suspense in our degraded culture.

    Jul 30, 2007 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • If it makes at least one person search out and discover the original version, then it's all worth it.

    Apr 3, 2005 | Rating: 2/5

Audience Reviews for Diabolique

  • Jan 19, 2009
    Not as good as the original.
    Steve S Super Reviewer
  • Jun 16, 2008
    I saw this one in the middle of the night. I'm not a fan of sharon stone...but it was pretty good...still not a fan of sharon stone dough
    Martin S Super Reviewer
  • Mar 22, 2008
    Skip this and see the original, please.
    Anthony V Super Reviewer
  • Nov 08, 2007
    Henri-Georges Clouzot's classic French thriller gets a Hollywood makeover in this glossy remake. Guy Baran (Chazz Palminteri) is the dull, loutish headmaster of a private school that has seen better days. While Guy oversees the day to day operations, the school is actually owned by his wife Mia (Isabelle Adjani), whose spirit has been crushed by Guy's casual cruelty and whose health is frail. Guy has been openly having an affair with one of his teachers, Nicole Horner (Sharon Stone), who has almost as much contempt for Guy as Mia. Mia and Nicole eventually join forces against their common enemy and plan to murder him and conceal the evidence. However, while the killing goes as planned, Guy's body mysteriously disappears from the carefully chosen spot where it was dumped, and when a chatty detective, Shirley Vogel (Kathy Bates) begins asking questions, both women begin to wonder who knows what about their murderous scheme. This was the third remake of Les Diaboliques, following two made-for-TV adaptations, Reflection of Murder and House of Secrets.
    Martin D Super Reviewer

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