Starring: Willa Fitzgerald, Kyle Gallner, Ed Begley Jr., and Barbara Hershey
Director: JT Mollner
This film has been reviewed by Nick and Quentin as part of Bitesize Breakdown's coverage of Fantastic Fest 2023.
If you've read my work before, you'll know I often take issue with non-linear timelines. Well, not only does director JT Mollner use the format successfully, but he does so in a way that enhances the overall film. With the concept of Chapters told out of order, it creates an uncertainty and intrigue that is only enhanced by the dynamic lead performances. Willa Fitzgerald and the criminally underrated Kyle Gallner come to play, and they held my attention from beginning to end of this gripping serial killer picture. Whether it’s the direction, the cast, or the story, Strange Darling is a triumph across the board.
If you ever need a prime example of a movie that expertly subverts expectations, look no further than Strange Darling. Playing a bit like Sanctuary but with the throwback horror motifs of Pearl and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, this is a twisty, tense, and thoroughly engaging thrill-ride. It’s also a great example of how to use non-linear storytelling to maximum effect. You’ve probably read my praise for Kyle Gallner in the past (he does solid work here too, no doubt), but he’s ultimately overshadowed by Willa Fitzgerald, whose performance drives everything happening on screen. Kudos to writer-director JT Mollner for creating something special with this one.