Julie is a girl who loves her father; much like any other daughter loves her father. Unlike those other girls though, Julie is just a little psychotic and the love she feels for her father turns into something else, something that makes her kill those who get in-between she and him. First it was her mother who had to die and then it was the new girlfriend and her son. When Julie fails with the boy, she knows that removing the new stepmother is where she has to succeed and she hatches a plan that will end in both violence and death.
There is a moment during the first bit of the movie where it seems like it might be somewhat unassuming, but when it introduces Julie and her family, it is quite apparent that something is not quite right with the girl and it only gets worse/better from there. Julie as played by Isabelle Mejias, is a girl that does not like to be told no. In fact, anyone other than her father who is played by Anthony Franciosa, who tells her to do something, is looked upon with quite the murderous gaze. It soon becomes apparent that Julie is disturbed and more so than most as she fixates on her father in a very unhealthy way. After the murder of her mother which she could have prevented easily enough and with the introduction of Sybil Danning as the new member of the household, Julie’s mind breaks even further. In the scene of her mother’s murder, Julie is shown to be watching it with almost a strange fascination and even a bit of glee as the light fades from her mother’s eyes. It is a disturbing moment and just one of many involving the tween, who not only plots the murder of her new younger brother, but also the rape and murder of Danning and at one point, dreams about she and her father having sex while watching him and Danning doing the same. Despite the graphic nature of certain scenes in the film, it makes for very compelling viewing as Mejias is a highly talented actress and wondering just what it is that she is going to do next keeps the viewer’s full attention. Danning is quite good and her character surprises in the end while Franciosa almost disappoints with a somewhat lacklustre performance, though to be fair, there is not very much for him to do. While the focus of the film is centered around Julie’s feelings for her father, he plays a minimal part and such as it is, it works because it is Julie that is the more interesting character.
There are those that will not like this film and not simply due to the attempted rape, murder and matricide pictured within as watching Mejias almost tends to get a little uncomfortable. It is a testament to how talented Mejias is, that the film becomes so, but it is also why it is so good and is exploitation at its best. Sometimes the genre disappoints, but sometimes it can offer up something a little different and Julie Darling is just that.
4 out of 5