Fantastic Fest Reviews

[Fantastic Fest] ‘Strange Darling’: A True Crime Tale with a Twist

For true crime enthusiasts, this film is a must-watch. JT Mollner presents his latest movie, inspired by a real-life case. Between 2018 and 2020, an American serial killer embarked on a meticulously planned spree across multiple states. Drawing from police interviews, detailed eyewitness accounts, depositions, and observations, the movie offers a dramatization of this chilling true story.

This six-chapter thriller revolves around a woman, portrayed by Willa Fitzgerald, who finds herself pursued by a car driven by a dangerously unhinged man fueled by cocaine, played by Kyle Gallner.

What sets Strange Darling apart is its narrative structure, presented out of chronological order, reminiscent of a Tarantino film. We begin with chapters 3, 5, 1, and so on. Reconstructing the pieces of the story doesn’t pose a significant challenge, as we’ve encountered more intricate puzzles before. However, the form doesn’t overshadow the substance. While the premise may seem straightforward, it holds a surprising twist, reminding us that appearances can indeed be deceiving.

Mollner opted for the aesthetics of 35 mm film, evoking an ’80s atmosphere that will particularly resonate with slasher film enthusiasts. The lead actors were meticulously chosen and deliver brilliant performances. Kyle Gallner, known for his roles in Scream and Smile, embodies the persona of a deranged and violent maniac convincingly. Willa Fitzgerald, of Scream: The TV Series fame, masterfully portrays her character’s various states of mind.

Strange Darling offers a refreshingly unique approach to the storytelling of a serial killer narrative. Don’t miss this one.

Rating: 3.5/5

Strange Darling will also be screened on September 25th.

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