A young woman wakes up in the garage of a home she’s never seen before. As she wakes up, she finds large chains also bind her. Waiting for her to wake up is a strange man, the head of the house, who goes by the name of ‘Father’ (Casper Van Dien). The Father advises the kidnapped woman that her name moving forward will be ‘Daughter’. The term ‘Sister’ is also allowed to be used to address her when it is appropriate. The Father claims that he and the family are not harmful people, but he also makes it very clear that she, now named Daughter, can never leave home.
As the Daughter begins to process what she’s been told, she also meets Mother (Elyse Dinh), who reinforces everything her Father said. The stranger soon learns that she must adopt the role of the family’s daughter for two years, and then she is free to leave unharmed. Most importantly, Mother stresses that the Daughter is always to obey whatever Father says. Now, will this stranger become part of the family and follow all the rules, or will she try and escape, breaking free from those holding her against her will?
The aspect ratio is something different to anything I’ve ever seen. Right from the film’s opening, not only are we greeted with all the credits and the title screen, but we also witness an aspect ratio that feels more like a rectangle shape with curved edges, as if we are watching the entire film through the lens of an old camera. Specks and dust are mixed throughout the film, adding to the effect. It’s highly fitting and adds a nice touch, which was already creepy and disturbing. The musical score by David Strother is great, sometimes coming out of nowhere with its loud and strange presence. It’s the kind of music that gives the vibes of being old and matches the visual effects.
Performance-wise, I must instantly commend the performance of Casper Van Dien. I found it enjoyable for multiple reasons. Carrying a deep husky voice (similar to Ethan Hawke in the TV Series Moon Knight), his dialogue is always firm. Also, it’s evident he is not someone to mess with and has creepy moments. His body language is stiff, and even when doing something minor like sitting in a chair, his back is straight, all prim and proper. The pacing is slow, but the visuals and tension kept me engaged, questioning the potential outcomes. The plot even surprised me with a few unexpected twists; however, I can’t deny the ending was slightly vague, and some audience members will be left desiring a bit more conclusion.
Overall, with a tense and creepy storyline and an outstanding, fresh performance from actor Casper Van Dien, Daughter delivers a great experience. It’s a slow burn, but I always felt engaged and questioned the outcomes. The outcomes did manage to surprise me at various points. Visually, I loved the style and look of this film, as it felt as though it was released on home video. The effects and aesthetic only enhanced the unsettling feelings. With so much praise, I was only saddened by the ending and final moments, which have questionable or vague aspects. However, when audiences are left wanting more, isn’t that a great sign that the film has hooked its audiences successfully? Daughter (2022) is Available on Digital from February 22nd!