Darling, a fragile young woman, is hired by Madame to look after a huge historic mansion in New York. But before she leaves her alone with the house, Madame tells her about the fate of the previous caretaker who decided to jump off the roof and meet his end on the pavement. As if that’s not enough, she warns Darling about a locked room upstairs at the end of a long corridor. She should never, under any circumstance enter that room.

After young and upcoming director Micky Keating tackled satanic terror in Ritual (2013) and scifi paranoia in pod (2015), he now delivers a true arthouse horror feast. In the best tradition of films in which the protagonist slowly sinks away into madness (of course shot in glorious black & white images), Darling goes straight for your guts and pulls no punches. Tension, paranoia and uncertainty nibble away the already fragile comfort layers of the lead, a great performance by Ashley Carter (The Woman, Jug Face), until only insanity remains. With genre veterans Sean Young (Blade Runner, Ace Ventura) and Larry Fessenden (You’re Next, We Are What We Are) as solid backups.

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