The Daisy Chain (2008) Movie Review
Written By: YN
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Aisling Walsh
Producers: Dominic Wright and Tristan Lynch
Writers: Lauren Mackenzie
Date Released: October 9, 2008
Samantha Morton as Martha Conroy
Steven Mackintosh as Tomas Conroy
Mhairi Anderson as Daisy Gahan
David Bradley as Sean Cryan
Rating = 3/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
The Daisy Chain (2008) is the story of Martha and Tomas Conroy, a grieving couple, who decide to move into the countryside in preparation for their second child. Once there, they meet the Gahans who have two children, but Martha is particularly drawn to Daisy, the Gahan’s neglected and outcast daughter. After the consecutive deaths of the couple and their son, Daisy is left with no home, so the Conrays decide to take her in temporarily. But speculations start circulating around the little town regarding Daisy’s peculiar and somewhat violent behaviors, accusing her of being a fairy changeling. Despite the couple’s denial of such thing, it isn’t long before they, too, begin to feel unsafe around the child especially now that Martha is close to giving birth.
This movie falls more along the thriller category than the horror genre. It doesn’t contain too much gore and blood. And while it shows a couple of violent scenes, the closes to it being gory are when the burnt body of the Gahans are shown briefly in a scene and when Martha was about to give birth in the bathroom. There are instances that depict a child drowning (or almost drowning), but even then, they aren’t explicit enough to make you squirm in your seat.
The Grave Review
If there’s one thing notable about The Daisy Chain (2008), it is the success of the movie to keep you apprehensive. There is that tension in the air that never leaves due to the hauntingly beautiful countryside backdrop, the dark, bleak atmosphere, and the superb performance of the actors in the film. But this is also its greatest downfall because the scenic environments seem like the strongest aspects of this film. The film simply keeps you waiting for something to happen, but when the film reaches its climax, you’re still left with more questions than answers. As it tries to be political in its ambiguity, whatever message it is trying to convey gets lost in its open-endedness.
The setting of the movie happens in the unique and breathtaking countryside of Ireland. There are the sloping hills, misty landscapes, perilous cliffs, strong winds and the ever-angry waves of the sea. Houses are quite isolated from one another, giving a sense of desolation and unease as you watch children fall from cliffs, gets drowned from the sea and people burned alive in “fairy rings”. It is the perfect place for tragedy and the supernatural to come together because the remoteness of the place adds a sense of uncertainty and anxiety in the story.
All throughout the movie, colors are muted and dulled to give that bleak, dreary atmosphere. It adds into the despairing feeling of solitude and the unease of the unknown. It also highlights the grief of the couple who had just lost their child from a cradle accident and the paranoia of their neighbor regarding Daisy. Likewise, it brings out the general creepy vibe that Daisy exudes anywhere she goes.
The actors here are also notable for their convincing portrayal of their characters. Specifically, Samantha Morton (who plays as Martha Conray) and Mhairi Anderson (who plays as Daisy) stand out with their roles as the mother and daughter in the film. They have heart-warming scenes together that can make you sympathize with Daisy, who simply seems misunderstood at first because of her autistic-like behaviors, but at the same time, Anderson also captures that other-worldly, mischievous and disturbing air around a supposed changeling. Most of the tension is created by her playful and sometimes calculating looks because it makes you wonder about what she is capable of doing next.
There is a point where the movie seems to be conveying a message about child neglect and discrimination especially towards children with developmental disabilities, but its stand on the issue becomes murky because it has never confirmed Daisy’s true origins. With its ambiguity, it justifies the abandonment and prejudice Daisy experienced because there is no distinction between having disabilities and being an evil fairy changeling in the end.
The Daisy Chain (2008) is the type of movie that reels you in the with a mystery and keeps you apprehensive because of the way it infuses tension in the scenes. Unfortunately, it is also the type of film that fails to take that tension to another level and will eventually leave you dissatisfied with the ending.
For these foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews give The Daisy Chain (2008) three graves out of five graves.
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