Set in 2006, Somebody’s Darling takes place on a university campus and centers on a fraternity house that throws posh cocktail parties instead of keggers. The frat brothers put on an air of Southern sophistication, but it doesn’t take long before we see a darker underbelly to the house.
We meet the frat president, Christian, who broods a lot, until a woman named Sarah shows up at one of the parties. Christian becomes obsessed with her, stalking her on Facebook, calling her, stopping by her dorm, and giving her intimate details of the Civil War Battle of Kinston, which the South won. Sarah has a boyfriend, though, and keeps Christian at arm’s length as he becomes sicker and sicker. Christian’s frat brothers are concerned for his health while not stalking girls on campus, and their conversations hint that they might not be so human.
Somebody’s Darling has a great, Hitchcockian opening credits sequence, but unfortunately the film suffers from flat performances and not enough meat on the bone. At only 80 minutes it still, at times, feels too long. If this had been an episode of Tales From The Crypt with about 20 minutes shaved off, I’d have much more praise for the finished product.
I think the main problem I have is how the film downplays the horror aspect. It’s hinted at throughout with bits of campus rape culture coming into play and just a dash of a potential supernatural twist. Writer/director Sharad Patel seems reluctant to just let the blood splatter—instead going for a more dignified, slow burn, psychological thriller—and he doesn’t give us enough “thriller” until the very end. The last few minutes of Somebody’s Darling are the most interesting part of the film. By then though, it’s almost too little too late. Patel could have sprinkled more horror footage through the film without necessarily revealing the film’s big secret.
The big secret, of course, is vampires… which I guessed about halfway through. Especially when we find out that Sarah is the spitting image of a nurse named Sarah, who took care of the Southern hero (I feel gross typing that, by the way) who turned the tide of battle at Kinston. So, yes, it’s Dracula meets The Skulls.
Honest to God, I think there’s a good movie here, but it either needs to be a little longer or a little shorter. I like that Patel uses the vampire mythos as an analogy for rape culture. It’s pretty chilling and realistic that in the end the rich bad guys who feed on innocent girls are seen smiling with a new crop of young ladies, drinks all around, and not a consequence in sight, because that’s how it is.
All that said, I think there’s an audience for this film. I’m just not it. Still, I’m interested to see what Patel does next.
Somebody’s Darling is now streaming on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and VUDU.