Part crime caper gone awry, part survival horror film, this 1970s set thriller depicts a harrowing fight for survival after a pair of wannabe crooks botch a bank heist and flee into the ... See full summary »
James Landry Hébert
In need of a full-time caretaker to look after her house, an elegant and enigmatic madame hires a lonely young woman; however, this is not an ordinary place. Indeed, this silent residence is the oldest building in the city, riddled with unpleasant stories of forbidden occult practices, and terrible rumours of morbid hauntings. With such a reputation, most people would turn down the madame's lucrative offer; nevertheless, this lovely caretaker is up to the task, even though, right from the start, peculiar occurrences and blood-curdling sounds that permeate the empty mansion's long corridors foretell an ominous fate. Under those circumstances, why is that room at the end of the hallway off-limits? Can the tormented keeper rid herself of the ever-growing voices inside her head?Written by
Shot in black n white, arranged in non-chronological order, and evidently influenced by Roman Polanski's Apartment Trilogy (especially Repulsion), there is no denying that Darling is a stylishly directed feature but in its overambitious attempt to homage the notable horror classic, it ends up becoming an overbearing & convoluted mess.
Set in New York, the story of Darling follows an unnamed young woman who agrees to house sit at a large mansion that appears to have a notorious past. With nothing to do & unable to kill time, she begins to lose her grasp on reality as the extended exposure to the isolation that abounds the empty mansion triggers her descent into madness.
Written & directed by Mickey Keating, Darling is his tribute to the atmospheric chillers of the 1960s but the film lacks an identity of its own. Throughout its 78 minutes runtime, it applies tricks such as sporadically cutting to maniacal frames, screeching noises for its score & mindless meandering but all its intricacy lies only on the surface, for it is hollow from the inside.
The monochrome filters, confined setting & clever use of camera do manage to bring an unsettling element into the picture but the narrative is simply out of focus and fails to capitalise on that. The only one who is actually able to redeem something out of this whole clutter is Lauren Ashley Carter who tries her best to make her character work and chips in with a violent performance.
On an overall scale, Darling finds its filmmaker succeeding at replicating the look of Repulsion but he is unable to add the same level of thematic depth which turned that psychological horror into a genre classic. Deficient in numerous storytelling aspects & pretending to be something it isn't, this artistic endeavour bounces all over the place yet in the end, finds itself not far from where it started. Skip it.
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