Starring Lauryn Canny, Cooper Andrews, Pollyanna McIntosh, Nora-Jane Noone, Bryan Batt, Lauren Ashley Carter, Eugenie Bondurant. Directed by Pollyanna McIntosh. (101 min)
ON BLU-RAY FROM DARK SKY FILMS
Review by Josey, the Sudden Cat🙀
The biggest compliment I can give Darlin’ is that I found it quite enjoyable without ever realizing it’s actually a sequel.
It is, in fact, the third film in a series that began in 2009 with Offspring, followed a few years later by The Woman, the latter directed by Lucky McKee (he of May fame). While Darlin’ didn’t compel me enough to go back and see what I’ve been missing, the film does an admirable job telling a fairly self-contained story where prior knowledge isn’t a prerequisite.
|Twister just isn't as much fun without the mat.|
This one is written & directed by Pollyanna McIntosh, who starred in the first two films as a feral & cannibalistic family’s mud-covered matriarch. However, her character takes a backseat to ‘adopted’ daughter Darlin’ (Lauryn Canny), now a teenager. After being hit by an ambulance, she’s cared for by kindly nurse Tony (Cooper Andrews). She’s later sent to a Catholic parish run by a Bishop (Bryan Batt), who sees the financial and promotional benefits in attempting to civilize her. Meanwhile, The Woman (McIntosh) wants Darlin’ back, slaughtering her way through a variety of poor rubes along the way.
Greedy, egocentric and ultimately lecherous, The Bishop represents a none-too-subtle swipe at the questionable practices of the Catholic church. That probably means Darlin’ won’t show up on the Pope’s watchlist anytime soon, but it does have one hell of a despicable villain. While there’s plenty of blood and nastiness – The Woman’s horrific killing spree, in particular - the film is also about Darlin’s transformation from a wild child to one displaying ‘proper’ behavior. Since she’s ultimately the film’s most sympathetic character, we’re definitely concerned over the values she’s being conditioned to embrace.
Darlin’ throws in a few twists along the way, some of which are surprising, others which don’t seem all that plausible. More importantly, it provides just enough exposition of past events for it to be appreciated on its own terms. The denouement feels too calculated - leaving the door open for yet-another possible sequel - but still wraps things up nicely. All-in-all, it’s a tidy little horror film laced with timely social commentary.
FEATURETTE – Includes interviews from the cast & crew, plus behind-the-scenes footage.
AUDIO COMMENTARY – By writer-director Pollyanna McIntosh.