Darling is a small, unusual, indescribable thriller about a girl’s quick descent into madness. Lauren Ashley Carter plays the eponymous “Darling,” who becomes the caretaker of a supposedly haunted New York home owned by the wealthy Madame (Sean Young).
Darling is told through 7 chapters, although the rationale behind that structure is elusive. The film opens with a warning about its hallucinatory images, which are surprisingly tame. Rather, most of the film’s excess is from its sonority (the ticking noise of a clock is frequently used to articulate Darling’s insanity).
Much like its airy and loose narrative, there isn’t a whole lot to say about Darling. The film isn’t particularly interesting visually (the film was shot in black-and-white), nor is it compelling enough to retain investment (a death sentence for a film that clocks in at a little over an hour). In terms of social commentary, it is problematically implied that Darling’s madness not only derives from the supposed haunting (which is never firmly established), but from sexual assault.
Even though it clearly works within the parameters of a low budget psychological horror film, it is difficult to sustain interest in Darling. Indie fans may appreciate its avant-garde structure, but others will be put off by its inefficacy.
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Mark Barber: @WorstCinephile