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
"Darling" follows an out-of-touch young woman who gets a job house sitting in a large New York mansion that is reputed to be haunted—that's about all I can say without ruining the rest of the film, as it really is that paper-thinly plotted.
Writer/director Mickey Keating seems to be a serious film student, as the movie is entirely based on Polanski's "Repulsion," and has shades of "The Shining" and "Diabolique" worn on its shoulder at all times. This is perhaps the most frustrating thing about it—the fact that it lacks its own identity.
The film is nicely shot and has some great closeups which are accentuated by the black-and-white cinematography, and the setting has an off-kilter, claustrophobic vibe that is more or less effective; I did, however, find the flashy jump-cuts and strobe effects to be overwrought. Lauren Ashley Carter plays the lead of the picture, and even looks like Catherine Deneuve; her performance is solid, while Brian Morvant plays a male counterpart who takes on a vital role in the proceedings. The film has a downbeat ending at its 76 minute running time, but it's a conclusion that seems apparent from the opening scene.
Overall, "Darling," though a technically well-made film, lacks bite because it seems too preoccupied with paying homage. A meatier film could have gotten away with this, but the narrative here is far too basic and skeletal to offset a cache of cross-references. The result is stylistically effective, but unfortunately rather dull in all other areas. 4/10.
18 of 22 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this