Movie Review: Don’t Worry Darling (2022)

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Don’t Worry Darling is a huge waste of time, don’t watch it in theaters. This film’s abysmal failure was rightfully predicted when the only news coming out nearing its release was about the drama that surrounded the filming. If this amateur attempt at horror doesn’t ruin Olivia Wild’s directing career, nothing will.

Don’t Worry Darling is about a dystopian desert community that is themed after the 1950’s American nuclear family fantasy. The men all work at a factory where what they do is a secret. The women are homemakers who look after the house and their husband’s every need. Everything seems perfect at the Valor project. Food is plentiful, there is a lot to do, and everything is perfect. But there is something sinister happening in the desert, and Alice is the only one who suspects such. Alice seeks answers, but the answers she seeks begin to unravel her world. It seems like her life at the Valor project isn’t as perfect as it seems.

Don’t Worry Darling is two hours where nothing happens. The first half hour is dedicated to Harry Styles making out with Alice, while the rest of the run time is padded with more fan service and fake deep sequences. If this movie dedicated as much time to developing its plot as it did with Mr. Styles, this could have been an actual movie. Instead, Don’t Worry Darling is a superficial attempt at replicating a better horror film.

The biggest problem with this movie is that there isn’t enough tension. The editing, the bizarre directing choices, and the acting 

aren’t able to make this work. The acting is very inconsistent. In some scenes, the writing and the acting come together nicely and give the audience the false hope that the movie might get better. Most scenes, however, feel as if the actors are struggling to remember the lines they were given minutes before filming. It doesn’t help that most characters are poorly written cardboard cutouts of people. The cast does its best, but nothing can save this atrocity to film.

This is the part of the review where I will spoil the movie. If you are planning to watch it, don’t, but this is a good place to stop. You’ve been warned.

The movie is all set up, full of scenes that take way too long and symbols that overstay their welcome. With all this setup, the big defining twist still manages to come as a surprise. This whole movie exists as a simulation, and only the men know the truth. The women on the other hand have been reprogrammed to believe in the simulation and be perfect housewives. The idea is cool. In the hands of a competent director, this could have been a good movie, but it’s not. 

Don’t Worry Darling’s follies make this movie anti-climactic. The villain is poorly written and without any presence. I forgot Chris Pine was even in this movie until he would show up for some poorly written moments. The only reason I knew he was the villain was that he was nearly always accompanied by ominous music. Alice on the other hand suffers from magical competence. She knows something is wrong and knows what to do because the script and director say so. Most events in this movie happen for the same reason. You can argue that it was all programmed to happen, but this movie isn’t good enough for that explanation. As a result, I never cared when Alice was in danger because I knew ex-Machina would save the day.

Instead of wasting so much time on symbolism and fan service, it should have spent time developing its mystery and gas-lighting Alice. There should have been more clues to suggest that this was a simulation. There should have been more meaningful interactions between Alice in the world; maybe it wouldn’t feel so frustratingly magical. There should have been a better director. Olivia Wild tried and failed, and this was the result. Don’t watch this movie. 

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