Darling follows a young woman who becomes the caretaker of an old house and begins to go insane seemingly from the house's haunting nature. Filmed in a Hitchcock-esque black & white style, the film is heavy on the psychological tension and sudden, minimalistic imagery.
This film finds itself in that awkward sweet spot of that runtime of just over an hour. It's too long to be a short and a bit short for a conventional runtime, but the plot plays out at just the right pace so it's hard to argue with the choice. I haven't committed to whether or not I found the black & white approach as necessary, but I lean to it being a welcomed addition rather than a distraction.
The epilepsy-triggering visual flashes that are a constant throughout the film grow old rather quickly, despite their effectiveness at delivering on the madness aspect that is rampant throughout the production. The high-pitched violin scratching furthered the sanity-wilting resolve of the visual cues and the film leads you to believe that you just might go mad yourself.
The lead (played by Lauren Ashley Carter) did a stellar job at playing the psychotic hauntee. Her descent into madness was evident in her Ryan-Gosling-from-Drive-like approach. Everything was limited facial expressions and subtle body language until the rage and emotion comes out in bloody outbursts.
I can't tell if I hate or love this movie. I genuinely can't come to a conclusion. In its impactful minimalism, it is hard to picture a more directly-arthouse horror film that spends no time poking holes in itself. You feel genuinely disturbed at times, but I can't say for sure that such feelings are catalyzed by an overuse of its flickering cinematography and scratchy soundtrack.
Horror Qualifier: 8/10
Horror Quality: 6/10
Film Quality: 6/10