Diary of the Dead

Film review by Thomas M. Sipos




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Diary of the Dead (1976 dir: Arvin Brown; cast: Hector Elizondo, Salome Jens, Geraldine Fitzgerald)





Reading the video box, you might get the idea that Diary of the Dead is a supernatural horror film. (Apparently never released on DVD, I own a VHS copy).

The box says "Some people come back to haunt you no matter how deep you bury them."

Also: "A tale of horror from beyond."

Also: "This suspense-filled horror film proves that some people come back to haunt you no matter how deep you bury them ... his mother-in-law's power extends beyond her bloody grave."

Well, all that marketing is a lie. Diary of the Dead is not a horror film. And no supernatural elements. It's a crime/suspense film.

A hen-pecked 39-year-old son-in-law plans to murder his mother-in-law. To avoid spoilers, I won't reveal what happens in detail.

But people die. Then much of the film is about how the son-in-law must lie to cover up what happened. Then lie some more to cover up his past lies. The lies compound as events threaten to uncover the son-in-law's lies.

Will his lies be exposed? Will be be suspected of murder?



No supernatural or horror elements are even implied in the film. Only in the marketing.

As a suspense film, Diary of the Dead is okay. Low budget, but not bad. Hector Elizondo is a sympathetic son-in-law. Salome Jens is his sympathetic and attractive wife. Geraldine Fitzgerald does well as the nasty mother-in-law.

But if you're seeking a supernatural horror film, you'll be disappointed.



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