Diary of a Cannibal (2007)

Diary of a Cannibal reviewStarring Jillian Swanson, Trevor Parsons, Michael Barbour, Danielle Petty

Directed by Ulli Lommel

So I finally popped my cherry last night. My Ulli Lommel cherry, that is. Been seeing this guy’s movies on the shelves for a couple years now but have dared not watch any. That’s really saying something in my case. I mean look at the unwatchable crap I’ve sat through over the years. I don’t know what it is that’s prevented me from seeing a Ulli Lommel flick until now, probably common sense. It could be because I just didn’t have any interest in bottom-of-the-barrel horror flicks loosely based around real-life serial killers like the BTK Killer and real-life murders like the Black Dahlia or if it was because I’d seen previews of some of his newer flicks on other DVDs I watched and, well, for a guy who has been making movies for over a quarter century this Lommel character sure does make some seriously amateurish-looking films.

Lommel’s no amateur though, which makes his current crop of cinema that much harder to excuse. He had some success back in the very early 1980’s with horror flicks The Boogeyman and The Devonshire Terror – I’ve never seen any of them. My only familiarity with Ulli Lommel is with his recent output, specifically the ultra negative word of mouth that has accompanied it. And I’m not just talking about that found on the internet either. For example, a co-worker of mine mistakenly thought she was renting the Brian DePalma Black Dahlia when she mistakenly checked out the DVD for Lommel’s no budget atrocity of the same name. She told me it was the worst movie she’d ever seen; so awful that afterwards she even lost interest in ever seeing the big screen version she’d meant to pick up. I laughed at the time she told me all this. Now that I’ve finally seen a Ulli Lommel movie myself, suddenly it’s no longer so funny.

I’d call Lommel a hack but doing so would be an insult to directorial hacks everywhere, as well as an insult to the letters “h”, “a”, “c”, “k”.

This leads me to Diary of a Cannibal. I’m not even sure I’d consider it a horror movie. Ah, hell, it’s barely even an actual movie. It plays like some experimental art flick about a guy and girl that meet on the internet, fall in love, drive around in a Gulf Stream, frolic on the beach and then go to a warehouse where he insists that they seal their love for all eternity by having her kill him and eat his internal organs. The events I just described do not happen necessarily in the order I just listed them, or any order for that matter. Instead the film jumps around almost at random (flashbacks and flash forwards) and even repeats scenes that already added nothing to the story to begin with (i.e. they really loved to frolic on the beach – a lot). It’s all done very abstract, using minimalist dialogue, buffering scenes with every Bible quote Lommel could find about eating or sacrifice, over directed with a masturbatory amount of fancy edits, fades, black & white footage, fake scratches to the digital image to make it look like an old 8mm reel, and montages out the wazoos. Oh, god, the montages…! The film should have been called Montage of a Cannibal since I’d reckon 85% of this movie is presented in montage form.

Diary of a Cannibal is the sort of experimental movie that some pretentious but clueless film student would make after flunking out of film school and taking refuge in the world of underground cinema where the pseudo-intellectual types that smoke mushrooms and bemoan the over-commercialization of society even as they slurp down their double latte from Starbucks would praise the artistic merits of his hackwork and talk about it as having some greater meaning, speaking in alliterations designed to make themselves sound smarter and deeper than they really are.

Ulli Lommel is the sort of hack who thinks putting a Biblical quote about the slaughtering of a lamb on the screen and following it up with scenes of a person having their organs carved out interspersed with what looks like PETA footage of actual lambs being slaughtered is somehow making a statement or an allegory or something. Whatever.

There’s barely anything resembling a storyline to begin with and there’s no depth to the imagery he keeps putting on the screen. No subtext. No allegory. No deeper meaning. No emotional resonance. No context whatsoever. Just bullshit! Oodles and oodles of mind-numbing, nerve-grating, who-the-hell-would-possibly-think-this-movie-is-any-damn-good bullshit!

The opening credits insist that there was a screenplay for this movie. I find it impossible to believe there was anything more to work with than just a few scribbled pages in a notebook. The most dialogue is saved for the wraparound segments involving the two cops questioning the girl on her death bed in the hospital. As we’ll come to learn in the last ten minutes, her injuries weren’t suffered during the whole cannibalizing her boyfriend aspect of what passes for a storyline, but from getting beaten senseless by another woman in prison. Yeah, you see once all the artsy fartsy girl-kills-boy, girl-cooks-his-organs-with-a-BBQ grill, girl-takes-long-meaningless-moped-rides-while-his-organs-cook, girl-puts-on-a-cheap-prom-dress-and-eats-his-organs montage crap finally reaches an endpoint a graphic appears on the screen telling us she was arrested and imprisoned – then things briefly turn into a women-in-prison movie for about five minutes.

Remind me again why the cops were questioning her regarding the eating of her lover if she was already arrested, charged, and jailed for the crime? They were cops, weren’t they? Am I completely confused? I don’t think I missed anything significant even when I began making liberal use of the fast forward button for the sake of my sanity. Boy meet girl. Girl eats boy. He wants her to eat him because that way they’ll be together forever. The parts of him that will be pooped out of her body later on in the form of fecal matter must not count, I suppose. Still not entirely sure why they did what they did other than both being crazy and in love. I know he looked like a total weenie and she had a nice rack and was screwed up because of her brother dying. Or was it her dad? Maybe it was both. I know her dad died during some sort of surgery. I think. I don’t know. All I know for sure right now is that this movie made me want to gnaw my own eyes out.

The following text appears at the very end of the movie:

“Ulli Lommel’s Diary of a Cannibal is based on a true story that took place in the 21st century.”

Sure. Whatever. You know what other true story has occurred in the 21st century – ethnic genocide in Darfur. Does that mean Ulli Lommel should make a shitty art flick about it composed almost entirely of dialogue-free montages of people standing around and staring into nothingness or doing the most mundane things or riding around aimlessly on a moped or standing outside smoking a cigarette or…? You get the idea.

I do have to give props to the score. The music often sounded like it was lifted right out of an old RKO melodrama. If it wasn’t public domain music then my hat is off to the composer for orchestrating the greatest faux public domain music-sounding film score I’ve ever heard. Given how cheap this movie appeared to be I find it hard to believe the budget allotted for the hiring of a composer.

I did something I’ve never done before after watching a DVD. I ejected the Diary of a Cannibal DVD from the player, held it up with one hand, and then punched it as hard as I could with the other. I can only hope that wherever Ulli Lommel was at that time he experienced a sudden pain even if only on a metaphysical level.

Fuck this movie!

And look at that DVD case that actually makes this look like some sort of scary horror flick. Shame on Lionsgate! Not just for deceiving potential viewers; shame on Lionsgate for aiding and abetting this talentless crackpot. There are too many more talented filmmakers out there competing for shelf space at Blockbuster while Ulli Lommel keeps getting his utterly worthless crap thrust upon the public. Shame on Lionsgate!

0 out of 5

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Jon Condit

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