Directed by: Sharad Kant Patel
Run time: 80 minutes
The Lowdown: If Somebody’s Darling, the fascinating and thought-provoking debut from writer-director Sharad Kant Patel, is to be believed, the slew of high-profile, powerful men who have recently been outed as sexual predators might actually be part of an intergalactic brotherhood of extraterrestrial deviants who know nothing better than to treat women as objects to be used and discarded for their enjoyment.
At least, I think that’s what Patel is saying, but the joy in discovering this unexpectedly intelligent first feature is that its meaning is wholly open to interpretation.
Somebody’s Darling, which is being released by UFOClub Creative, is already drumming up significant festival buzz and praise at the best possible time because sexual harassment, sexual assault and male privilege has become a watershed issue that’s at the forefront of most of the country’s mind.
I liked that Patel doesn’t offer any easy answers. Instead, he allows his narrative to disarm viewers who might be expecting a more traditional rape-revenge-fantasy genre offering.
But, boy howdy, does Somebody’s Darling pack an unexpected punch.
Paul Galvan plays Christian, the kind of upper-crust, silver-spoon elitist that arrives on a college campus and immediately basks in the glory of being revered. He is president of the coolest fraternity – the drink of choice at their parties is a neat martini, with nary a beer keg to be seen – and his brooding presence and movie star looks means he’s the prized catch of every co-ed.
But then Christian meets Sarah (Jessa Settle), who is wise beyond her years, and who expertly cuts him down to size when he tries to run a game of compliments on her intended to woo her into his bed.
Sarah isn’t like the other girls. She doesn’t care about status, wealth or prestige. And Christian immediately falls under her spell, much to the concern of his fraternity brothers.
See, there’s something not quite right about this particular group of lads.
Patel wisely uses an array of striking visual interludes to introduce this idea, focusing on Christian, who keeps having apocalyptic visions where he’s sitting on a throne with Sarah by his side while the world burns below their feet.
Could Christian be falling in love with this level-headed, opinionated girl-next-door with the striking looks? And, if so, what does that mean for him, and who he really is, not to mention the dozens of handsome young men who loyally follow him as their leader?
Suffice to say, by its striking and open-ended third act, Somebody’s Darling gleefully dives off the deep end into some pretty exciting and heady points for debate, slyly transitioning from its early, sinister undercurrent into pure science-fiction, and it works – really, really well.
Somebody’s Darling is now available to rent or purchase through most Video-on-Demand streaming platforms. BVB highly recommends you check it out.
The Stuff You Care About:
Hot chicks – Yes.
Nudity – Yes.
Gore – Yes.
Drug use – Yes.
Bad Guys/Killers – Men are from Mars. No, really, they might be.
Buy/Rent – Buy it.
Better Watch Out (Well Go USA, 89 minutes, R, Blu-Ray): This is one of the best examples in recent memory of just how good and entertaining genre cinema can be. Not only is Better Watch Out an instant holiday cult classic, it delivers on every level with dark humor, buckets of gore and a subversive mean streak a mile long. See BVB’s full review from October 10, 2017.
Silent Night, Deadly Night: Collector’s Edition
Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom
One Day at a Time: The Complete Series
Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series
The White King
Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends)
Despicable Me 3
Conor McGregor: Notorious
Now on Video-on-Demand:
Bullet Head (Saban Films/Lionsgate, 93 minutes, R, VOD): Writer-director Paul Solet was poised to break big in 2009 with Grace, his deliciously dark maternity fable about the lengths a mother will go to nourish her unborn child.
Since then, however, he’s only directed two other offerings – 2015’s gory good Dark Summer and a segment for the anthology feature Tales of Halloween.
Now, Bullet Head arrives, and while it’s a complete swerve from Solet’s more horror-related material, and it represents a big swing for mainstream recognition, it's still very much rooted in genre conventions.
Bullet Head, which stars Adrien Brody, John Malkovich and Antonio Banderas, is a heist thriller that never shows the heist. Instead, it offers a character study of career criminals who find themselves trapped and fighting for survival against a smarter villain and one seriously dangerous dog.
Brody and Malkovich bring an air of credibility, turning Solet’s screenplay into an acting workshop where the audience gets to watch and appreciate two master craftsmen playing off each other.
That’s honestly the highlight of Bullet Head.
While Solet continues to impress as a director, and whereas his stock has obviously risen to be able to attract a higher caliber of actors, this is not his best work, if only because the film leaves you wanting for something more – more menace, more malice, more substance.