Darlin’ features the various and sundry adventures of the eponymous title character (played by Lauryn Canny); a feral child who is dropped off at a hospital located at the edge of a snow covered forest by her equally feral mother; The Woman (played by the film’s director and writer, Pollyanna McIntosh… who we interviewed here, as a character featured in Lucky McKee’s movie of the same name… yup, this flick is a sequel to that very film, which in turn is based on the writing of Jack Ketchum).
Darlin’ proves to be one hell of a handful, and is kept sedated until the staff can figure out her fate… a fate that is ultimately decided by the Catholic church (who funds the hospital) that sends her packing to ye olde Catholic orphanage. This of course complicates things when The Woman comes lookin’ for her offspring at the hospital, bearing her fav delicacy; human flesh.
The Woman intends to find her daughter, and the bodies pile up, as her new charges turn Darlin’ into a celebrity as they attempt to tame this savage beast through Draconian methods. None of this will end in a pleasant manner. I assure you…
Unlike the rather dour The Woman, Darlin’ presents it’s heavy subject matter with a sense of satire that makes things very palatable, no matter how disturbing things get. We get the oppressive presence of the Catholic church exerting it’s archaic control over the bodies and lives of women, and the loneliness and mental damage that can inspire… but we also get the whole crazy cannibalism bag and a sense that one can rise above their lot in life, no matter how dire, all delivered with a slightly left of center surrealist bent… which is a testament to the talents of the previously mentioned creative tour de force that is Pollyanna McIntosh, and her willingness not to shrink away from all disparate tones a story can inspire.
Adding to the above referenced positives are the talents of Canny as our heroine, who treads the line between crazed maniac and devote zealot with equal aplomb (replete with her own distinct sense of movement). This is a fascinating performance to be sure, and manages to carry the viewer through whatever off-kilter situations the flick throws in front of our putrid peepers.
As a compliment to the film at hand, Dark Sky Films have included a few bonus features on their Blu-ray release. Included are: a great commentary from McIntosh that takes us through the film’s production, a behind-the-scenes featurette, a deleted scene, and the film’s trailer.
To sum it up; Darlin’ is a unique journey through some well-trod horror tropes that manages to both have a message and be vastly entertaining… get your eerie eyeballs upon this one boils n’ ghouls!