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Diane Review

September 14, 2018 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
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Diane Review  

Diane Review

Jason Alan Smith– Steve
Carlee Avers– Diane
Margaret Rose Champagne– Detective Phillips
Dick Boland– Detective Bernard
Jim Thalman– Sgt. Winslow
Doug Tompos– Markus
Ryan Barry McCarthy– Mal
Davis Mikaels– Lenny
Daniel F. Patterson– Detective Thompson

Directed by Michael Mongillo
Screenplay by Michael Mongillo, based on source material by Matt Giannini

Distributed by Random Media

Not Rated
Runtime– 82 minutes


Diane, directed by Michael Mongillo, stars Jason Alan Smith as Steve, a disabled veteran who wakes up one morning to find a dead woman in his backyard. The woman, a local singer named Diane (Carlee Avers), is in her underwear and appears to have been stabbed to death. When the cops show up on the scene, Steve claims that he doesn’t know who Diane is or how she ended up in his backyard. The cops, mainly detectives Phillips and Bernard (Margaret Rose Champagne and Dick Boland), don’t believe a word Steve says, but Steve insists that he doesn’t know anything. When word gets out about the incident, Steve becomes a bit of a public pariah. How could he not know who Diane is and what happened to her? She was found in his yard! Steve buys a surveillance camera to watch the spot where Diane was found dead, figuring that her killer will return to the scene of the crime (killers apparently always do that). All Steve needs to do is remain patient and the truth, the real truth, will come out.

Now, while Steve is doing all of that, he’s also experiencing weird audio hallucinations of a female voice. Is it Diane’s ghost haunting him? Steve also has dreams about Diane that get increasingly more volatile as the movie progresses. One time, in the dream, Steve chases after a man he believes to be Diane’s killer. In other dreams Diane talks to him. Steve and Diane even have sex in one dream.

And while all of that is happening, Steve drinks more and more with each passing day. The beer bottles keep piling up in his house and the pile of broken glass in his backyard grows (one of Steve’s favorite pastimes is chucking empty glass bottles at a brick wall). Is he experiencing some sort of guilt? He did take a picture of Diane’s dead body before he called the cops, and he does look at it from time to time, placing his finger over her breasts. Is he doing that deliberately because, on some level, he thinks Diane is sexy, or is that just how he places his finger on the screen? Just what the hell is going on here? What the hell happened to Diane?

What I found most fascinating about Diane is how you never once believe anything the movie’s protagonist, Steve, says. As soon as you see him and understand the situation he’s in, you know that he knows more than he’s letting on. You don’t know what he knows, you don’t know what he’s actually hiding, but you know that he isn’t being truthful with anyone. At the same time, you like Steve and you’re rooting for him to come clean and admit that he knows more about Diane than he claims to. You don’t want to see him put himself through all of this.

The way the store plays itself out is also quite fascinating. The first three quarters or so of the movie are all about Steve dealing with the aftermath of the dead body incident. The last quarter of the movie is devoted to actually explaining what the heck really happened and what’s really going on. I was surprised that Mongillo and company actually took the time to show us the truth regarding Steve and Diane. I wasn’t expecting that at all. I expected to see some sort of open ended nonsense ending where the movie ends up making no sense. Instead, Diane serves up a satisfying ending, something that automatically sets it apart from most low budget horror thrillers nowadays. And when I say that the movie isn’t what you think it is, I’m not kidding around. Diane, by and large, is not what you think it is.


The cast is fantastic. Jason Alan Smith does a superb job as Steve. He’s a haunted vet, but his battlefield experiences in Afghanistan help mask and confuse what’s going on with him throughout the movie. He isn’t necessarily experiencing trauma because of the nastiness that he saw in the army. There’s something else going on with him. Great stuff.


Carlee Avers does a terrific job as Diane, a beautiful singer with problems of her own. One of them, obviously, is being found dead in some guy’s backyard. That’s gotta suck. And her lack of clothes when being found dead is another problem. As for her main problem, man, it’s messed up. I won’t divulge what’s really going on with her, but I think it will surprise you. I know it surprised me. Avers also has a nice scene at the very beginning of the movie where she does this sort of lunge singer thing. She has a beautiful voice and, man, she’s goddamn hot.

Margaret Rose Champagne and Dick Boland are exceptionally cynical as detectives Phillips and Bernard. You get the sense immediately from them that they can smell bullshit coming from a mile away and you’re very interested in how they’re going to proceed with the case of Diane being found dead in Steve’s backyard. The movie doesn’t really get into them actually doing that, but it’s still cool that that’s there for you to wonder about. Wouldn’t it be cool if someone made a movie about them actually going through a case, step by step? I think it would be a cinematic exercise worth exploring. Jim Thalman, who plays Sgt. Winslow, and Daniel F. Patterson as Detective Thompson can join in, too. They also have active, finely tuned bullshit detectors.

Ryan Barry McCarthy and Davis Mikaels are hilarious as Mal and Lenny, two neighborhood douchebag hecklers who refuse to leave Steve alone. They’re exactly the kind of guys you expect to see show up in the aftermath of a situation like the one Steve finds himself in, trying to take the law into their own hands. I think you’ll love the way Steve handles them.

Diane is a damn good, satisfying as hell low budget horror thriller. It has a great cast, solid, moody direction from director Michael Mongillo, and a story that doesn’t play out the way you expect it to. I loved this movie. Track it down and check it out as soon as you can.

See Diane. See it, see it, see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: 1

Explosions: None.

Nudity?: None, and that’s a damn shame. We get close to it, but it doesn’t happen. The only real downer in the movie.

Doobage: A sweet lounge singing act starring an absolutely gorgeous woman, handyman repairs in some guy’s garage, multiple pawn shop trips, a dead body in the backyard, picture taking, an impromptu interrogation, a gun box, gun smelling, a completely unprofessional police interrogation, asshole hecklers, glass bottle breaking, news watching, serious drinking, cane throwing, strange voices, police surveillance, multiple dreams, generator fixing, gun cleaning, face punching, throat chops, tickling, bottom lip biting, security camera hooey, more glass bottle breaking, tape bondage, a mouth full of pills, barfing, a scary stairs video dream, ghost research, an emotional breakdown of sorts, drinking while taking a shower, bus stop hooey, a cup of coffee, kissing, empty house sex, an odd arrangement, arguing, even more glass bottle breaking, screwdriver hooey, and a satisfying ending.

Kim Richards?: None.

Gratuitous: Hot babe lounge singer, gun smelling, a discussion on whether or not the dead woman is pretty, glass bottle breaking, booze dropping, TV news hooey, glasses with lights attached to the sides, an old surveillance system, an odd arrangement, and a satisfying ending.

Best lines: “How’s the day going? Not much of a talker, huh?,” “Hey! Get back over there!,” “I want to see that permit,” “Is this your job?,” “You never lie?,” “What is it about me that makes you think I’m an idiot?,” “That’s funny. You think you can run a game on me?,” “Hell, I’d fuck her, and I don’t even like women,” “A murder? On the street? It makes me sick to my stomach,” “Thanks for that. A long time coming,” “That’s right, I’m a killer. I don’t kill women,” “Did you know that a fay is the same thing as a fairy?,” “You are such a fucking dork,” “I, uh, found another guy, Steve,” “You motherfuckers!,” “If I ever see you again I’m gonna fucking kill you!,” “Hey, babe, can I get a beer?,” “No, Steve, this is the only place we can be together,” “That’s for glass,” “Did you know the victim was married?,” “Now I’m banging someone’s wife?,” “I’m not giving you what you want, Steve. Tell me that you love me,” “Diane! I love you! Come on, that’s total bullshit,” “I won’t let you forget me, Steve,” “Hey, you were great!,” “Well, if you don’t want to talk about it why don’t you do something about it?,” “It’s a good thing we met. I’m your number one fan,” “No, no pictures,” “This is where we meet. Nowhere else,” “If you really love me you’ll do what I want,” “Please. Please do this with me,” and “You promised!”

The final score: review Amazing
The 411
Diane is a damn good horror flick with a truly satisfying ending, a rare commodity in movies nowadays. It also has a terrific cast and direction by Michael Mongillo. When the movie started I really thought it was going to go one way, and then it did something completely different and unexpected. A great movie watching experience and something you definitely need to track down and check out.

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Diane, Bryan Kristopowitz