DANIEL ISN’T REAL is officially a thriller. However, by the end it feels more like a trippy body horror movie. And I really love it! Obviously, there are also quite a lot of mind games due to the whole nature of the imaginary friend, Daniel. Read more in our Daniel Isn’t Real review here!

Daniel Isn’t Real is a new thriller that offers up a lot of wonderful surprises for fans of genre movies. For one, it has surprisingly many elements of body horror which I didn’t expect. But I do absolutely love it!

Also, the young actors starring in this movie are absolutely brilliant. The same goes for Mary Stuart Masterson who plays a woman who struggles a lot with keeping a grip on reality.

Continue reading our Daniel Isn’t Real review below.

A truly stellar cast

The star of Daniel Isn’t Real is Miles Robbins who plays Luke. I always feel that Miles Robbins has a very familiar face and while I do recognize him from the 2018 Halloween reboot movie, this isn’t the only reason. He is the son of actors Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon and he looks like a pretty cool hybrid of the two. Also, he is most definitely a brilliant actor in his own right.

The title role of Daniel is played by Patrick Schwarzenegger (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) and with a last name like that, you already know that he is also an off-spring of Hollywood royalty.

Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger is his father. At times, this does also become familiar. Especially when he laughs in a maniacle way and when he looks ice-cold like a Terminator. Sorry, not sorry, ’cause it’s true!

Along with the stellar performances from these two actors, we have Sasha Lane in a key supporting role. You’ll probably recognize Sasha Lane from Hellboy (2019). Finally, we have Mary Stuart Masterson (Fried Green Tomatoes) as Luke’s mom who struggles with a lot of mental health issues.


A true genre-bender

The fact that Daniel Isn’t Real is officially a thriller according to IMDb is almost grotesque to me. Sure, it has a lot of elements of a psychological thriller and I love it. But it is also a rather hardcore horror movie at other times. Including a lot of body horror moments that work very well. 

Also, I love how we slowly get to figure out who Daniel is. Because it isn’t entirely true that Daniel isn’t real. After all, Luke (Miles Robbins) can see him and so can we. Also, there is another obvious reason why Daniel is real in his own right. It’s one hell of a ride getting to this and even if you guess it ahead of time, it won’t ruin anything.

Finally, the style and colorgrading of this movie adds to the wild and crazy vibe of it, so be sure to take all of this in as well.

Watch Daniel Isn’t Real as soon as you can!

Daniel Isn’t Real was directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer who also directed the “New Year’s Eve” segement of the horror anthology Holidays (2016). If you haven’t watched that one yet, you should absolutely put it on your list!

Adam Egypt Mortimer co-wrote the script along with Brian DeLeeuw, who wrote the novel it’s based on. Also, Brian DeLeeuw co-wrote the screenplay for Adam Egypt Mortimer’s previous feature film Some Kind of Hate (2015) with the director. Clearly, these two are an awesome filmmaker duo.

If you enjoy movies that feature mind games, body horror and a plot that evolves in some wild and crazy ways, then please do check out Daniel Isn’t Real. Also, the actors in this movie are absolutely mind-blowing in many scenes which is yet another reason to watch it.

DANIEL ISN’T REAL will be out in theaters, on digital and on demand December 6, 2019.


Director: Adam Egypt Mortimer
Writers: Brian DeLeeuw, Adam Egypt Mortimer
Stars: Patrick Schwarzenegger, Miles Robbins, Sasha Lane, Mary Stuart Masterson


Troubled college freshman Luke (Robbins) suffers a violent family trauma and resurrects his childhood imaginary friend Daniel (Schwarzenegger) to help him cope. Charismatic and full of manic energy, Daniel helps Luke to achieve his dreams, before pushing him to the very edge of sanity and into a desperate struggle for control of his mind — and his soul.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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