Madame (Sean Young) is looking for a caretaker for her house – the oldest house in the city. When prim Darling (Lauren Ashley Carter) arrives, she leaves her to it. Darling does her best to take care of the house, but it’s strange. Something seems to be going on under the surface and Madame is not forthcoming with information. Darling is affected more and more.
Keating’s first outing, Pod, didn’t work for me at all, so when I say that Darling was at least better than Pod, take that for the faint praise it is.
Darling starts off well enough. The story may be predictable to the last iota, but Keating does manage to build tension at first, helped along with a couple of nice, if cheap, jump scares. But the story simply feels more out of control the longer it lasts, going nowhere and becoming pretty boring in a very short time (and it’s not a long film).
The things I did like were the black and white photography that absolutely compliments Carter’s face – she has the looks and expressions of a silent film star here and the film caters to that. I also liked the editing, at leat at first, that works with strobe lights (among other things9, but that particular trick was unfortunately overdone and lost its charm with the rest of the film.
Some things simply weirded me out about the film – watching Darling clean the house, for example, made me wonder if she’s ever cleaned anything before and was irritating to say the least. But okay, it’s weird, but I can deal with that. What I couldn’t deal with was when rape (possibly?) was cited as Darling’s backstory, which was simply unnecessary and yet another instance of rape/sexual violence as the only backstory a female character is allowed to have. Ugh. Let this trope finally die.
All of that means that despite showing some growth since Pod and some nice moments, Darling still isn’t exactly worth its short runtime.