• Diary Of A Sex Offender

    Released by: Independent Entertainment
    Released on: 11/23/10
    Director: John Niflheim
    Cast: Peter Grouse, Allison Quick, Karma Jean, Penny Nichols, Lilly St. Claire
    Year: 2010
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    The Feature

    Michael (Peter Grouse) is an unhinged and orphaned loner fixated on discovering the mysteries of the universe, a journey made possible in his twisted mind by the sacrificial defilement and eventual murder of several young women; an obnoxious teen sexpot runaway he picks up hitchiking, a nosy waitress who overhears a philosophical discussion between he and his only friend Bill whom Michael convinces to come back to his grungy pad ("wow man, what a shithole!" she smugly remarks before noticing artwork of a distinctly Joe Colemanesque nature adorning nearly every available bit of wall space), as well as one tattooed lass already bound and gagged by the time she appears onscreen.

    Seemingly orchestrating all of this mayhem is a hooded and cloaked deity named "Iwas" that speaks to Michael, taunting him with promises of ancient knowledge if he is to finish the task. In fact, this Crowley obsessive is working on a massive tome himself, and every victim brings his "book" (a tattered and stained notepad) closer to completion. Each time, the m.o. is nearly the same: trick the victim into coming in, and roofie'n them so he can squeeze their breasts and maybe worship their feet a little before raping and stabbing/slashing them, resulting in a powerful "braingasm" (cue trippy visuals and NIGHTMARES IN A DAMAGED BRAIN-style mouth foaming) for the perp.

    One day, Michael discovers a new young woman has moved in upstairs from him, and as they discover, they have a little in common (she too digs Crowley), prompting a get-together, whereby Michael discovers that their backgrounds are similar, and though he goes through the typical drugging procedure in order to have his way, he finds her to be a willing accomplice! In fact, he seems to actually be wanting to (get this) give her pleasure, and in doing so receives the first declaration of love in his miserable existence. Too bad a certain jealous deity isn't about to let this go much further......

    Directed, written and shot by John Niflheim, DIARY is a fairly accomplished indie sexploitation/horror hybrid distinguished by a genuinely unsettling visual sense (sound design also) and claustrophobic vibe where very little of the outside world creeps in. The fact that the two victims we get to spend any time with are about as annoying as one can imagine (by design, the performances are both entertaining in their own fashion) does little to distance the viewer from the main character's misogynistic psychosis (portrayed with reasonable effectiveness by Grouse), but that very angle is rendered all the more ridiculous by the swiftness with which his attitude changes (accompanied by a sardonically archetypal "falling-in-love" montage, just about the last thing the viewer would expect given the previous hour).

    What that leaves is a number of loooong forced sex/murder scenes that surprisingly feel more like something out of a 60's b&w "roughie" (maybe a result of all that gropin') than, say, MURDER SET PIECES, but this shouldn't be construed as a complaint, as that is a vibe that will probably only survive in features like this. Given how far all of this COULD go, the quaintness (as well as Niflheim's sharp cinematography) is what makes DIARY a moderately enjoyable watch.


    DIARY is presented in an 16x9 enhanced (and progressive scan-flagged, it would appear) transfer with a ratio of 1.78:1. Given its "indie" origins, it's a little startling to see a grungy little item like this have so little in the way of digital noise and the like while also having deep, well-replicated color schemes (from pop art psychedelic to richly natural autumn tones in the love montage) and challenging lighting situations looking so pro.

    On a similar note, the lone audio option is a simple-yet-effective 2.0 stereo track that fuses Michael Parsons' diverse musical score with.......well, itself, mostly, though the occasional narration and dialogue all have good separation from the f/x and music, and nothing ever sounds pushed too hard or distorted.

    Extras? Well, this baby is pretty bare bones, and apart from trailers for BLOOD AND SEX NIGHTMARE, ROT: REUNION OF TERROR, SHOCK FESTIVAL, STASH, and (a pleasant surprise) Bruno Mattei's WOMEN'S PRISON MASSACRE, you get bupkiss, but this (and the lack of any additional audio tracks) can only be a contributing factor in the overall handsome appearance of the feature itself. Given the obvious care with which DIARY was shot, this was probably the nicest thing I.E. could have done for both Niflheim and the viewer.

    The Final Word

    Independent Entertainment brings you DIARY OF A SEX OFFENDER, director/writer/DP John Niflheim's unsettling (yet droll) 74 minute trip inside the mind of a psycho sex killer that manages to surprise the viewer even as it pays homage to similar films of the past (also: nudity!).