When Darren agrees to give Irene a ride to a birthday party, we journey into the depths of his fragile ego as it becomes clear that the evening will fall short of his deluded expectations.

Although they hardly know one another, Darren has agreed to drive Irene to a mutual-friend’s birthday party across town. On their way, his insecurities and misguided sense of entitlement quickly give way to a series of uncomfortable moments. It becomes clear that the reality of the evening will fall short of his deluded expectations. TOXIC journeys us inward as we bear witness to Darren’s fantasies while viewing them in contrast to the unsettling reality of how his behavior affects those around him.

Keisha Castle-Hughes

a fog of toxic masculinity

I wanted to tell a story about “incels” without explicitly pointing a finger at them and saying “eww”. I thought it would be more interesting to look at a man who’s on the brink of radicalization. To follow him along on a seemingly innocuous evening. Witnessing how he internalizes interactions with women in a way that makes him feel victimized. But even as he repeatedly studies himself in the mirror, he’s unable to self-reflect, clouded in a fog of toxic masculinity.

Toxic is directed by Mike Manning and stars John Bain along side Keisha Castle-Hughes (WHALE RIDER, GAME OF THRONES), who also co-produced the film. While the setting is one that happens on the daily, it’s rare that we get this point of view captured. Where we get a intriguing glimpse at how insecurities can create radicalizations. Even though the film doesn’t contain a horrific ending, we applaud the raw setup and insinuations of what’s to come.