DAUGHTER is a new mystery-thriller with a very small cast and a truly brutal story. A fascinating tragedy that evolves in creepy ways from start to finish. Read our full Daughter movie review here!
DAUGHTER is a mystery thriller that plays out like a psychological horror story. What begins with a kidnapping quickly escalates to a fake and forced Stockholm syndrome situation. When I say “fake and forced” it’s because it never actually happens, but the man in charge seems to believe he can build his own family.
It’s an absolute tragedy that keeps evolving with new story elements that continue to shock and disgust. The entire tiny cast is fantastic, but Casper Van Dien as “Father” is particularly memorable.
Continue reading our Daughter movie review below. Find the film in theaters and On-Demand from February 10, 2023.
A chosen family
You know the saying “you can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends”? Well, in Daughter, we meet a man who challenges this statement. He very much believes he can choose his own family. As in he goes out and kidnaps a young woman and tells her that she now goes by “Daughter”, but can also respond to “Sister” when appropriate.
He tries to assure her by saying that nobody will touch her in a sexual way or be violent towards her. However, when this is followed up with the information that she just needs to stay with her new “family” for a couple of years, it does little to calm her.
Also, there is no leaving the house. Everyone outside is sick and the people inside the house – the family – need to stay safe and healthy so they can save the world. This is what the son of the family is taught. He has clearly been raised in a household where everything is rigorous, so playing board games or anything else indoors is a real treat.
A wonderful small cast
In Daughter, we meet a total of six people, so the cast only has six actors. The core family that we follow in this part of the story – which only spans a few weeks – consists of Father (Casper Van Dien), Mother (Elyse Dinh), Brother (Ian Alexander), and Sister (Vivien Ngô). The latter also plays the title role of Daughter, but her character name is “Sister” in the family tree.
Mother and Sister are both of Vietnamese origin and some Vietnamese is actually spoken. Not too much though, since Father doesn’t understand this and loathes secrets. Which is ironic when you hear what he’s teaching his son.
Ian Alexander is scary good as Brother. He can go from being the sweetest boy to looking absolutely demonic for a split second if someone suggests going against Father’s teachings. He plays a huge part in how it all plays out in the end – and I did love the ending of Daughter. Ian Alexander was “Lev” in The Last of Us: Part II video game, so maybe he’ll be in the HBO adaptation later as well?
Watch Daughter in theaters, on Digital or On-Demand now!
Corey Deshon is the writer and director of Daughter which really did work remarkably well in most ways. This is his feature film debut as a director and his third feature film as a screenplay writer. He also wrote the script for the horror movie Trespassers (2018), which has Fairuza Balk in the cast. The iconic The Craft star is often enough to make most horror fans curious.
While Daughter is a slow-burn movie in terms of storytelling, this is also what makes it so creepy. You’re trapped in this very strange home and from the opening scene, you know how brutal the father of this self-made family can be.
With a runtime of 95 minutes, it manages to keep a good pace throughout. If you tend to like horror movies or psychological thrillers with a religious antagonist, then this is definitely worth checking out. Especially since there’s nothing supernatural to the story – just a human being acting in a cruel and brutal way.
Daughter is out in theaters and On-Demand from February 10, 2023. It will also be out on DVD from May 9, 2023.
Director: Corey Deshon
Writer: Corey Deshon
Cast: Casper Van Dien, Elyse Dinh, Vivien Ngô and Ian Alexander
A young woman is kidnapped and inducted into a bizarre family as their new surrogate daughter. As she navigates through this twisted dynamic, awful secrets about the past are revealed, leading to even darker implications about the future.