Darling (2015)


I think I have a new favorite movie. Or at least new favorite movie of the moment. Maybe it’s because of my newfound adoration of Lauren Ashley Carter. Maybe it’s because the movie is black and white and my favorite shade of pink.

Maybe it’s because I discovered that you can change the appearance of subtitles on Netflix to make them giant and bright pink (and you haven’t lived until you’ve seen subtitles screaming FRENCH LOUNGE MUSIC at you in bright pink).

Maybe it’s a lot of things, actually. The setting, for example. I love creepy old houses, and the one in this movie is fantastic. I love the staircase and the long empty hallways and how unclear it is at any point whether it’s night or day. And that city. I love that city. I’ve spent cold nights in quiet apartments and loud hotel rooms around Manhattan — I’ve been that girl in the coffee shop staring blankly into nowhere.

Well, not quite that girl. I have to admit, though, that the role of Darling looks like it would be so much fun. And Lauren Ashley Carter kills it (so to speak?). This might be my favorite Lauren Ashley Carter hairstyle yet! I even liked her “night on the town” look — the updo was reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn, a nod I imagine was intentional. I have to ask, though — someone else did her eyeliner for that scene, right? As far as I can tell, a look that polished is physically impossible — or I missed that week in school.

It’s hard for me to comment on the pacing of this movie. I was hooked throughout but it’s not a fast-paced thrill ride by any means. It’s slow, but not in that deliberately, unnecessarily slow manner that annoys me. It’s also hard for me to comment on how scary this movie was — I like that it doesn’t resort to jump scares to get to you, and there’s little about it that’s overtly terrifying…but this feels like the type of film that’s going to stick with me. Like, I know when I close my eyes, Darling’s will be staring right back at me.

So obviously I’m still finding myself impressed with Mickey Keating — this movie was unquestionably an improvement upon Pod, though there were still a couple of hiccups. The blasts of industrial-sounding music interspersed throughout don’t really work here — it felt more jarring than unnerving and I don’t think it conveyed the same mood that Darling’s actions and expressions did. The flashes of gore did work here though, and made Darling’s descent into madness palpable.

The dialogue is a bit awkward in this one but there’s not much of it, and it is an improvement over Keating’s previous work. The line “I think I’ll become one of your ghost stories now” is a great one, for example. The lack of dialogue is what lets Lauren Ashley Carter really shine in this film by doing what she does best — communicating via expression. The supporting cast all did just fine but this is Lauren Ashley Carter’s movie through and through and I loved every minute of it.

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September 2023