JANUARY 2, 2011
I was not one of those assholes who disliked the end of Lost because they never explained why Richard couldn’t age or why Walt liked to kill birds (I disliked it because it skipped over anything resembling a proper sendoff for most of the characters and robbed me of being emotionally involved with most of the season due to the stupid “Lost Heaven” shit). Why? I don’t always need answers for everything. I don’t MIND everything being wrapped up neatly, obviously, but I’m perfectly OK with leaving some stuff up to my imagination, as long as it’s not crucial to the main focus of the story. Thus, despite many strong points, The Daisy Chain ultimately annoyed me, because they never bother to explain the nature of the kid’s evil ways.
Now, if she was just a straight up psychotic kid, it would be OK. The Good Son didn’t really explain why Mac was such a loon, and that was fine. But here, Daisy apparently has acid spit and can even teleport, so she’s more than just a little mentally unbalanced – however they never give a proper explanation for it. She thinks she’s a fairy, and I guess we’re supposed to believe that she really IS, and that’s that. Though it still doesn’t explain why she tries to make out with her adopted mother. And again: acid spit? I must be behind on my fairy lore, for I don’t recall that being a “thing”. Either way, if you're going to go into the realm of the supernatural, I think some explanation is deserved.
I also wouldn't have minded an explanation for the Calista Flockhart zombie thing that appears on the movie's cover, since the movie has no zombies and the woman doesn't resemble any character in the film.
It also has a grim ending that it doesn’t really earn. I love downer endings as much as the next jerk, but it’s got to be more than just a surprise shock. The Mist is a good example – the horrifying ending helped make the point of the film. But here (spoiler) Daisy accidentally kills her adopted mum as she is about to go into labor. Daisy apparently delivers the baby herself and then looks into the camera and starts rambling (she rambles a lot in the movie), and that’s it. Sure, I didn’t see it coming, but it comes at the expense of any sort of closure or narrative satisfaction; the movie just sort of stops cold. The husband doesn't even attempt any sort of revenge on Daisy - he just leaves the room after seeing his wife dead. Imagine if Halloween stopped after he killed Lynda and Bob – that’s kind of what this movie’s ending feels like.
Perhaps it wouldn’t be as much of an issue if the pacing wasn’t so wonky. At first I was impressed with the breakneck speed that the movie was going – in the first 20 minutes Daisy has drowned a little kid, frightened an old man, killed her real parents in a fire, and caused the death of a social worker who was going to take Daisy away from the hero couple. So I was like “Holy shit, this movie is going to be amazing!”. But from then on, Daisy reverts into “tease” mode; being threatening without actually harming anyone (let alone killing them). It’s like the movie is backwards – shouldn’t we be wondering for a while if Daisy was really bad or if someone else was behind these events? And even if not, shouldn’t she start out as being possibly just creepy and building up to full blown murder?
This makes the movie feel repetitive too. There are like three scenes of her being menacing toward a small child only to be thwarted by someone coming into the room or otherwise being caught, and about as many arguments between her foster parents about whether or not she is evil or just upset and in need of unconditional care. I understand and respect the need to get her living with the lead characters as soon as possible, but it’s like they blew their wad in the first 20 minutes and then had to tread water until they got to a point where the movie could end. Case 39 may not have been a classic, but at least they admirably kept from spelling things out for a while and had someone get killed every 15-20 minutes.
On the plus side, the acting is good (what’s an Oscar nominee like Samantha Morton doing in this sort of junk?) and I always like seeing Ireland-based horror movies. Also, Daisy is suitably creepy, with her ‘repeating things back’ thing (that’s always good for a minor unnerving) and frequent shrieks. She’s no Isabelle Fuhrman from Orphan, but she’s a hell of a lot better than the kid from the Omen remake. I also enjoyed the hilariously ineffective doctor – Morton goes in because she’s not feeling well and tells the doctor that her mother died of cancer. Just “cancer” – no specific kind. Not only does the doctor not seem to be concerned, he tells her “you’re healthy, it’s fine.” Reminds me of the first doctor I had when I moved out here – I told him three separate problems I was having (including sharp pains in my stomach area) and he didn’t give a shit about any of them. “It’ll clear up.” Fuck that guy. If you’re in Sherman Oaks, don’t go to Dr. Betz.
Also, don’t rent this movie. There are way better killer kid movies. Stick with Orphan, The Pit, or even Case 39, which at least offers Bradley Cooper pulling bees out of his ears and then carrying on as if it wasn’t something to be too concerned about.
What say you?