[Review] Michael Mongillo's 'Diane' Is A Satisfying Mystery

More structured like a mystery than a horror film, Diane follows the investigation of the murder of a woman from the perspective of the man who discovers her. All the while he defends his innocence against the local detectives who use horrifying, yet common interrogation tactics to trick him into framing himself.

The story begins with the live performance of the main victim and namesake of the movie Diane, and then dives right into the plot. Her body found in a stranger’s yard. The unfortunate owner of the property Steve, already seems an unlikely suspect given his situation as a disabled vet who depends on government checks and contracted jobs to get by. He lives alone and maintains a bitter and often smartass demeanor. Diane enables to see both possibilities between the defense, and the suspicions of those in town who don't want a woman killer living on their street. He’s never seen or met her before, but she’s “the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.”

Diane Fey, fey as in fairy, known for malicious behavior, begins to haunt him. His horrifying experiences with her haunting come drenched in red, and his fantasies involving her beauty come in vibrant color, while the real life dealing with investigations, accusations, and his own isolation and disability caused by his time in the army are saturated with dull and lifeless hue, and it pulls you into the emotional experience. Sometimes in full experiences and others in quick flashes that make you wonder yourself, “Did i just see that?” The artistic vision is well executed and challenges your perception of reality and fantasy.

Through the haunting, both psychological and spiritual, Steve aims to either protect himself or find out what someone is trying to tell him with a surveillance system in hopes that the killer will return to the scene of the crime. It becomes an obsession as he discovers more about Diane, and her story.

As a great work of storytelling, it pulls you through the same road of realization of the characters, though leaving you many hints along the way. Like a puzzle, all the pieces fit at the right time, sometimes backwards, and though it very well could have left with a typical fairytale ending, Diane leaves with a satisfying experience.

Diane opens at LA's Arena Cinelounge tonight, September 7th! The film will be available Nationwide on Cable and Digital VOD September 17th.


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