STRANGE DARLING (2023) Review of cat-and-mouse psycho thriller

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Strange Darling is a 2023 American psycho thriller in which a relentless male predator (“The Demon”) tracks an injured woman (“The Lady”) through the Oregon wilderness. The woman does her best to outsmart her attacker, but with each tense moment, she grows weaker and less able. He’s a deranged man on a mission, and it’s only a matter of time before he captures his prey…

The movie’s PR has described it as “one day in the twisted love life of a serial killer.”

Written and directed by JT Mollner (Outlaws and Angels). Produced by Bill Block, Chris Ivan Cevic, Roy Lee and Steven Schneider. Executive produced by Ezra Emanuel, Dan Lawler, Thom Zadra and Michael J. Zampino.

The Miramax-Spooky Pictures co-production stars Willa Fitzgerald, Kyle Gallner, Barbara Hershey, Ed Begley Jr., Madisen Beaty, Eugenia Kuzmina, Bianca A. Santos, Steven Michael Quezada, Denise Grayson, Sheri Foster, Duke Mollner and Andrew John Segal.


“In the end, Strange Darling refuses to dig deeper with the lofty questions it poses, but that doesn’t erase the goodwill the first two acts of the film has built up. What we are left with is a grim little thriller whose lofty ambitions prove to be too much for it in the end, but you’ve got to give it credit for trying.” ★★★½ Bloody Disgusting

“Serial killer movies are always popular and Strange Darling is sure to follow suit. Its success however, will come from how it unpicks, subverts and deviates from this well-worn genre. Praise for this lies with the performances of Fitzgerald and Gallner. The two work beautifully on screen together, the intimacy between the pair is palpable. The narrative sees their characters veer from seduction to stand-offs and back again thanks to the nonlinear structure…” The Hollywood News

“Employing a meticulously crafted non-linear narrative structure, JT Mollner’s film unfolds with incredible intrigue and suspense that takes the audience on a rollercoaster ride with seemingly endless twists and turns. Willa FItzgerald delivers a commanding lead performance, while stunning visuals from cinematographer Giovanni Ribisi create an ethereal tone to what is a disturbing and impactful film. If you’re looking for a nail-biting and wildly unpredictable thriller to watch, look no further than Strange Darling.” 9 out of 10, The HoloFiles

“It is a cinematic tour de force that you should not miss. Its creative narrative structure, breathtaking cinematography, based-on-true-events premise, and outstanding performances by Kyle Gallner and Willa Fitzgerald make it a must-see for anyone craving a rollercoaster ride of emotions. So, watch for its theatrical release and get ready to be spellbound by this cinematic gem.” ★★★★ Nerdtropolis

“When Strange Darling finally presents the beginning of the story, The Lady and The Demon play out an uncomfortable psychological scenario. This, too, does not go where viewers might expect. Now, when the film returns to its middle chapters, it recontextualizes what we saw before and keeps us guessing. Some viewers may get ahead of the surprises by the end, but it’s never boring.” UPI

Director JT Mollner said: “This film was a sort of dream (or nightmare) that I was compelled to bring to life. So much about it – the colours, the music, the overall visual aesthetic, and the characters were all so clear before we even shot anything. I really just wanted it to be one hell of a ride. We knew we would live or die with casting and it turns out, the performances are the pillars of this movie.”

Strange Darling premiered at the Fantastic Film Fest in September 2023.


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