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Lauren Ashley Carter plays the unnamed titular character with an unnerving manner, rarely blinking her Bambi-brown eyes as she slowly loses what’s left of her mind.

2.5 out of 4 stars

Title
Darling
Written by
Mickey Keating
Directed by
Mickey Keating
Starring
Lauren Ashley Carter
Classification
14A
Country
USA
Language
English

When Stanley Kubrick books you into the Jack Nicholson Suite at the Overlook Hotel. When Catherine Deneuve invites you over for a pyjama party and a midnight screening of Roman Polanski's Repulsion. And when a clearly damaged young woman takes a job as the caretaker of a haunted New York townhouse. It's just not going to end well. The writer-director Mickey Keating clearly took a shining to sixties horror movies for the inspiration behind Darling, a classy, hallucinogenic, art-house psycho-thriller and unsettling black-and-white love letter to a certain diminutive Polish auteur. Lauren Ashley Carter plays the unnamed titular character with an unnerving manner, rarely blinking her Bambi-brown eyes as she slowly loses what's left of her mind or gets stab-y or says things like, "Madam, I think I'll become one of your ghost stories now." Carter's striking near-solo turn is the best part of a film in which she is featured in two nude shower scenes too many. In addition to his cleanliness fetish, the director's Polanski preoccupation borders on imitation. Still, Keating's flattery is sincere, and so is his wish to stylishly freak you silly.

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