Saying that I wasn’t particularly fond of Mickey Keating’s “Pod” would be the understatement of the year. For me, it was the worst movie that I ever saw at the /slash filmfestival back then (which sadly has been dethroned since then). Loud, obnoxious, and extremely annoying, I probably would have gotten up and left – despite its short running time – if I wouldn’t have had tickets for a later screening. Thus, I wasn’t especially thrilled that they included not just one, but two of his films in this year’s program.
We’ll get to “Carnage Park” in a couple of days, but as far as “Darling” is concerned, the good news is that I thought it was slightly better than his previous feature. The bad news is: not by much. Yeah, it was visually (more) interesting, thanks to the lavish black and white photography (he probably would be a great DP; too bad that he insists on being a director). Also, Lauren Ashley Carter’s expressive face looks stunning in black and white. And there were a couple of tense scenes, even though those were few and far between. Otherwise, though, I found “Darling” just as difficult to sit through as “Pod”. I’m just not a fan of Mickey Keating’s directorial style, especially when it comes to his cheap jump scares as well as the extremely aggressive sound mix. Also, the story “Darling” is telling is hardly worth mentioning. It’s a jumbled mess of individual segments, some actually not too bad, others a chore to sit through (like the cleaning sequence that goes on for far too long), and some – at least for me – insufferable. And to add insult to injury, it ultimately leads nowhere, not really offering any explanation, and culminating in a finale that couldn’t have been more predictable. I still might have been able to enjoy it at least a little bit, had Mickey Keating not once again insisted on torturing the eyes and ears of his audience. As it is, though, it was yet another terrible mess that had me question all those voices who claim Mickey Keating to be the new whizz kid of horror. Because if that’s really the case, then the genre is in even worse shape than I could have imagined in all my darkest nightmares.