[31 Days of Horror Part VII: The New Blood] Day 6 – Darlin’ (2019)

Director: Pollyanna McIntosh
Cast: Lauryn Canny, Bryan Batt, Nora-Jane Noone, Cooper Andrews, Pollyanna McIntosh
Screenplay: Pollyanna McIntosh
100 mins. Not Rated.

A few years back, I saw the film The Woman, not even aware of the fact that it was a sequel. This is the risk sometimes with not including a 2 in the title, but then again The Woman is a rather different film than its predecessor, Offspring. You don’t really have to have seen Offspring to understand The Woman. I recall really not liking The Woman for quite a number of reasons, and when the opportunity finally arrived to catch Offspring, I figured it was worth a try, and hey, it might make me like The Woman more. It did not. Offspring just didn’t work for me either, but I remained vigilant, and when news spread of a third film, this one titled Darlin’, I knew I had to see it, because this is what I do. I’m curious…like a cat, and I needed to see if this third film, written and directed by series star Pollyanna McIntosh (Deathcember), would finally win me over.

Set some time after the events of the previous film, the missing girl Darlin’ (Lauryn Canny) has been found outside of a local hospital and taken to St. Philomena’s, a Catholic boarding school, to be reformed from her feral personality. As Darlin’ begins to see her human traits returning, she tries to put together elements of her past in her search for salvation. But St. Philomena’s isn’t a safe place, as Darlin’ soon realizes. The Bishop (Bryan Batt, Easy Does It, TV’s Mad Men) is a child molester who has set his sights on Darlin’, and the Woman (McIntosh) is searching for her as well.

I’m sad to report that Darlin’ is a bad movie. I was really hoping this time around to get something from this film and franchise, but it just hasn’t won me over. It seems that each film tries to ask some interesting questions and mine the story for something fascinating and unique in the unusual characters and events, but they never really go anywhere. Of course the Bishop is a pedophile. Of course Darlin’ finds a rebellious new friend at St. Philomena’s. Of course, the ending it exactly what I expected. It’s a frustratingly simple narrative that always feels like it’s going somewhere only to abandon the journey along the way.

The tone is another misfire here, but it was a problem for The Woman as well. This is a horror story. If it was told with less of a satirical viewpoint, I think it would have been stronger. Lean into the horror. This whole trilogy deals with some fucked up characters and plot points. Treat it like a horror story and it might actually feel like one. Instead, there are these little flashes of attempts at humor that took me out of the film and lost my focus.

Sadly, Darlin’ just another film in this franchise that does nothing for me. It squanders an initially interesting setup by falling into cliche and not taking the material seriously. It sits at the edge of fascination but never leaps into compelling storytelling, and I just didn’t enjoy any of it. It’s a downright bad movie in a franchise that has gone on longer than necessary.

1.5/5
-Kyle A. Goethe

  • For my review of Andrew van den Houten’s Offspring, click here.
  • For my review of Lucky McKee’s The Woman, click here.

[31 Days of Horror: The Final Chapter] Day 7 – Offspring (2009)

 

Director: Andrew van den Houten

Cast: Amy Hargreaves, Ahna Tessler, Pollyanna McIntosh

Screenplay: Jack Ketchum

79 mins. Rated R for strong bloody violence and gore, disturbing situations, language, nudity and some sexuality.

 

I accidentally watched The Woman a few years back not knowing that it was in fact a sequel to Offspring. I didn’t really like The Woman all that much, but I decided to go back anyway and check out Offspring to see how I felt about it.

Offspring is the story of a family who is terrorized by a clan of cannibal inbred killers who have remained unnoticed in the Northeast since the 1850s. It’s about that…for 80 minutes. And it’s a long 80 minutes.

Seriously, I’m going to try and remain positive, but this thing was awful. Okay…good things: I like the concept. It would be really interesting to dive into what makes this group stay together and how they were created. Instead, they terrorize a bunch of people for over an hour. People we don’t really get enough time to know. People that we aren’t all that interested in.

The flaws are plenty. The villains feel like mindless monsters and aren’t strong enough to make me not mind that the leads are so bland. There’s no plot for the entirety of the film. There’s the attempt at a subplot with an ex-husband who is apparently a monster, but it’s overplayed and uninteresting.

Offspring is just rather bland. There’s nothing here that I’ll truly take away, and this time next year, I’d be hard-pressed to be able to relate any of the plot details. Except that it has a sequel. One that isn’t so great.

 

1.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Lucky McKee’s The Woman, click here.

31 Days of Horror: Day 26 – The Woman (2011)

thewoman2011

Director: Lucky McKee

Cast: Pollyanna McIntosh, Angela Bettis, Sean Bridgers, Lauren Ashley Carter, Carlee Baker, Alexa Marcigliano, Zach Rand, Shyla Molhusen

Screenplay: Jack Ketchum, Lucky McKee

101 mins. Rated R for strong bloody violence, torture, a rape, disturbing behavior, some graphic nudity, and language.

 

The Woman is a movie that tries to substitute oddities for actual storytelling. It is a sequel to Jack Ketchum’s Offspring, and follows a woman (Pollyanna McIntosh, TV’s M.I. High, Exam) who has existed in the wild for all her life. She is discovered and kidnapped by Chris Cleek (Sean Bridgers, TV’s Rectify, Sweet Home Alabama) who has her imprisoned in his cellar. He soon presents his captive to the rest of the Cleek family and tells them his master plan: to make this woman civilized. He doesn’t expect her cunning abilities to both defend and protect herself.

thewoman2011b

It is tough to describe the plot of this film is a plot. It is also difficult to describe any of the performances as actual characters. No one actually acts the way they should in situations like this. First of all, a woman of the wild would not have been captured by the dunce that is Chris Cleek. Next, a man like Cleek who has captured this woman would not present it to his family with the belief that they would “go along” with this insane plan. Finally, none of these family members would “go along” with it, especially the wife Belle (Angela Bettis, Girl, Interrupted, Toolbox Murders) who just assumes that he knows best. I’m sorry, but any normal situation would follow with Belle walking the hell out of that house and marriage.

I just didn’t like anyone. Even the woman, she is more of a stock neanderthal than an actually developed character.

thewoman2011a

Lucky McKee’s screenplay with the source material’s author Ketchum is nothing to promote either. These are unsettling characters in an odd representation of actual life. The ending completely unraveled as well, introducing characters that we haven’t seen yet and that have no explanation in their existence at all, making the entire thing feel like some major subplots have been removed by accident. Such a disappointment that I couldn’t wait for it to end. Skip this movie. It looks terrible and it is terrible. There isn’t even anything of technical merit here to give reason to actually view it.

 

1/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

For more 31 Days of Horror, click here.

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