Would you consider Jessie Bradford in Swimfan or Beyonce in Obsessed to be horror films? The plots are certainly horrific for the characters involved, but it’s not like there’s a ton of bloodshed, jump scares, and elements meant to keep you up at night. I ask the same question about Sharad Kant Patel’s Somebody’s Darling. Though it has a few creepy moments and a supernatural twist, it keeps the terror on low in spite of a culturally relevant story that’s on every page of every newspaper in America. Somebody’s Darling follows Christian Roane, the mysterious president of a popular college fraternity. With the right looks, the right grades, and all the privilege of leading an upper-class frat, Christian finds himself in the good graces of a co-ed named Sarah Stein. As they grow closer, an animalistic hunger leads Christian into dark territory as he becomes psychotically infatuated with his new friend, going to great lengths to keep her close. When the relationship falters because of his crude behavior, he goes off the deep end, resulting in a bloody finish no one saw coming.
Paul Galvan, Jessica Faye Settles, Fred Parker, Matt Tramel, Kristen Tucker, Cathy Baron and Monique Cortez star in a film marked as a “retro-styled, psychological horror-drama.” And that pairing of genres is pretty spot on. Though, again, the terror is mostly on the back-burner and will probably cause most horror fans to label this one as boring. Somebody’s Darling revolves around the themes of privilege, rape culture, and southern history, and those are tough issues to tackle in any category of film. It’s because of all of these things that I’m not sure who I’d ever recommend this movie too. There’s a lot of talking, there’s not a whole lot of action, there’s unpleasant subject matter that’s either too poignant or not effective enough, and the area of the supernatural isn’t explored to its full potential. I love where this aspect was going, a mix between regular demons and incubus, but this was an explosive after-thought to shock the audience at the end. Even though it was hinted at all along that Christian Roane is devilish in other ways, it would’ve been wise to explore the supernatural aspect of this movie from the middle mark.
Still, the new movie from 5th Year Company is winning awards in the film festival circuit and is receiving a VOD release on December 1, 2017. It actually looks like I’m the only one who has a mixed opinion on it. Somebody’s Darling was written, directed and edited by Sharad Kant Patel based on the short story from producer Sebastian Mathews. Robert Murphy handled cinematography. As a production, Somebody’s Darling is solid in every aspect except style and picture quality. I didn’t like how the picture looked; a little outdated and dark, but that could’ve been to display the uncertainty and devastating psychological downturn in a more artistic way. Though, I will say there are some absolutely beautiful shots, such as the “staircase” and “hand holding” sequences. Again, just because I didn’t like something, doesn’t mean you won’t like it either. As far as the acting is concerned, everyone did a fantastic job and each performance contained a certain level of believably, but I have to say that I didn’t sense any chemistry what-so-ever between the two leads.
I really wanted to like this one. I really did. But, a lot of the crucial components missed the mark for me. I’ve seen serious subject matter like this handled in much clearer, cohesive ways. If the story was slightly more horrific and gave more effort to the rape culture and privilege aspects, I would’ve had a more pleased response as a viewer and a more emotional reaction as a human being. If the the camera work was up-to-par with certain scenes – like the ones I hinted at above – I could have let the lack of action slide. And the actors really did a great job, but I don’t think they were challenged and pushed as much as they should’ve been in a gritty, psychological-drama like this one. Again, I don’t know who I’d recommend this movie to, but it’s far from a disaster. It’s actually quite good; only lacking in follow-through. To me, it just wasn’t the culturally relevant, thought provoking, boarder pushing, cinematic experience I was expecting and hoping for. Sorry, guys. Final Score: 5.25 out of 10.