Movie Review: Darlin’

July 13, 2019

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely - Horror Fuel CEO & Executive Producer Email: [email protected]

 

 

“Walking Dead” star Pollyanna McIntosh makes her directorial debut with Darlin’, the sequel to Lucky McKee’s 2011 horror The Woman, which McIntosh also starred in.

 

 

 

 

Before we delve into my review of Darlin’ let me give you a quick rundown of The Woman. In the film, a successful misogynistic country lawyer captures a feral woman in an attempt to “civilize” the member of a violent, cannibalistic clan roaming the coast by breaking her will. But somethings just can’t be broken.

 

 

Darlin’ picks up years later after the woman has raised the child she took. Darlin’, now a young woman wanders into a hospital. Unable to speak and wild, she meets a nurse (Cooper Andrews) who is able to somewhat communicate through kindness. She is seen as a curiosity and sent to a girls home run by the church where she becomes the project of a nun and Bishop who hope to use her as a way to save the facility through the publicity of “saving” her. But the Bishop has a dark side that will come to light.

 

 

 

 

Darlin’ is played by Lauryn Canny who did an absolutely incredible job. The way she portrayed both the feral side of Darlin’ and the evolving young, innocent woman was extremely impressive and proved that she has amazing range. She absolutely nailed it. It’s rare to find an actor who can play such opposite roles in one film so well. I look forward to following her career.

 

 

 

Cooper Andrews, who also stared on “The WalkingDead” truly projects the sensitivity, kindness, and understanding of his character Tony, coming across like a big teddy bear. I love seeing him in these types of roles.

 

 

 

There are few things that creep me out like a dirty, perverted member of the church, Bryan Batt’s character of The Bishop fits that label and more. From the moment that The Bishop makes his first appearance, you can read it all over him.

 

 

 

McIntosh who wrote, directed, and starred in the film is a triple threat. It’s a surprise that this was her feature directorial debut, seeing that the film turned out so fantastically. Her portrayal as the woman in both the previous film and Darlin’ is incredible. She exudes so much strength, determination, and the ability to get across what she’s feeling without a single word. It’s not the first time that we’ve seen a feral type of character, but McIntosh does it the best.

 

 

 

The film is beautifully executed with great cinematography by Halyna Hutchins. The scenes featuring the woman are gritty and dark with Darlin’s scenes being clean, almost dreamlike.

 

 

 

While Darlin‘ is partially a horror film, it’s also so much more. At its core, it is a statement about the oppression of women and the reclaiming of their voice, their primal power, their strength, and their ability to survive even the most difficult of situations. Ladies, all I can say is bravo!

 

 

 

The film pulls you in and keeps you hooked. I found myself yelling at my tv and cheering for the main characters out loud. The story is unique and emotional, with just enough gore and blood to feel realistic. It’s a beautifully intense piece of cinema that I strongly recommend. There’s only one score that fits, Darlin’ has earned a score of 5/5 from me.

 

 

 

 

Darlin’ opens in select theaters on July 12, 2019. You can find theater listings here. I highly recommend that you watch the first two films of the franchise (Offspring, The Woman) before you see Darlin’, but if you can’t, don’t worry, Darlin’ also works as a stand-alone film. The ending was also left open, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a sequel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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