Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Darling (2015)

“The New American TENANT”

Writer-director Mickey Keating’s follow up to POD (2015 - premiered at Frightfest last year) gets a DVD release in the UK courtesy of Soda Pictures.

         Darling (Lauren Ashley Carter) is the name of the troubled (we are soon to find out) young woman who gets the job as caretaker for Sean Young’s posh New York townhouse. She (and we) get a brief info dump on how allegedly it’s the oldest house in the city, that someone once tried to conjure up the devil in one of the rooms, and that the previous caretaker killed herself by jumping from an upstairs balcony. Then Darling's left alone to get on with things and quite possibly go even more mad than she already is.

         So far, so Polanski (the black and white photography helps with this) and indeed, soon we’re in REPULSION land by way of THE TENANT with a good dollop of David Lynch’s ERASERHEAD thrown in as Darling starts to experience flashbacks (or are they?) and ends up inviting Henry (Brian Morvant) whom she meets in a bar back for brandy and horrible things. After that there’s a touch of Abel Ferrara’s MS.45 before things get even more stuttery and loony. I won’t tell you the ending because, well, you have to watch the film for that.

         Proudly wearing its influences on its sleeve (and director Keating cites some of the above as reference points in the three short featurettes that are extras on the disc) DARLING has loads of scary style, some properly disturbing imagery, and a great central performance from Lauren Ashley Carter. In fact the only criticism I would make about DARLING is that it feels like a long short film rather than a feature (if you see what I mean). The photography, the soundscape and the general sense of weirdness are all excellent, but there’s not quite enough substance there to make this entirely satisfying.

          That said, Keating comes across on the extras as extremely knowledgeable about the history of cinema in general and weird cinema in particular and a director’s commentary would have been most welcome. On the basis of POD and this he’s definitely one to watch and if you fancy a bit of late-night messing with your mind DARLING is definitely worth a watch.  

Mickey Keating's DARLING is getting a UK DVD release from Soda Pictures on 24th October 2016. Here's the trailer: 

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