The Daisy Chain (2008)

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?


  1. hahahaha loved this. I just watched it and after much disappointment and confusion I really needed to see someone lay it all out on the line. Glad to know I wasn't the only one appalled by this film.

  2. Spoilers following...

    I understood the ending differently from you. Saw nothing "accidental" in Daisy's murder of Martha. She did it with her spell and laying on of hands (it becomes clear during the movie that she always needs some physical contact with someone to be able to kill them. That is why the old man is always so careful to prevent her touching him - until she spits on him), and as a revenge for them trying to get rid of her.

    Well, what I really wanted to say was this: I don't think she is meant to have "delivered" the baby, but rather abducted it to the fairy world and brought in a new changeling like herself to hand over to Thomas. The new baby looked too old to be a real newborn, and this was not the case with the other newborn baby in the movie, so it must have been on purpose.

    So I think they wanted to pull the "repetition horror film ending" stunt, even if Thomas gets rid of Daisy subsequently...

    By the way, did not that new baby look a lot like Daisy's doll? And wear its clothes? Maybe it was fashioned from the doll and then charmed to fairy life.

  3. The comment above is also my understanding of the movie. The changeling is a common folk tale and opened the movie to small town minds vs the supernatural. My Grandmother (Irish) often spoke of strange tales and always ended her stories with...there's always some truth to the strange. Daisy was a Changling and the ending indicated that now the village had two. I liked it.

  4. just watched this on tv awful but stayed with it

  5. It was just disappointing for them to start with folklore, changelings and stuff like that and then decide to confuse everyone, I also didn't get the new changeling idea but that makes it kind of better.

  6. thank-you for the written review they did help clear u p the story of the movie- which was not made clear to me. Im not familiar with Irish folklore.IT would have been very interesting to have the theory of the changling child and what that means explained to us. I noticed Brian Frouds books in the film and know that there is ffolklore and peotry of the fairy cvhangling child- but I cant remember it off hand . Not understanding the plot of the story because you dont know a countrys folklore is common in horror films. I just saw Julianne moore in 6 souls last night and the same problem with that film. Its had to do with understanding the folklore of the tennesee "hollor" or "Holler" of the mountain peoples beliefs which was completely confusing!
    I also really think that a writer will base thier idea off some folklore and then embellish it so much that it never was any folklore like it. Those stories never make any sense. I think a well written story should make sense.
    I like a good story - but if I just walk away baffled -I dont thnk that good story telling.
    and I did watch this movie because Samantha Morton was in it. I thought she would choose a better written story.

  7. I just remembered another film that is based on the "fairie Changling child". It is "The Dark" a 2005 film.. stars Sean Bean and Maria Bello. ITs a psychological thriler about a couple who's daughter just seems to vanish into the the sea on the coast of Wales. Then The same evening another girl who looks like her is seen around the house. This movie has more story to it and explanation for us dim witted public - who did not do thier research before renting the film-shame on us. Fortunatly for us there is an older man "Dabith" who inderstands and explains to us\the parents what happened to Sarah.thier lost daughter. If you can tollerate the name "Sarah" being called about a 1000 times in the film then you will make it through with flying colors. because that did get irritating! But we laughed about it for some time. it was character and storyline or plot driven and erie and atmosheric and spooky and very hookey! good with popcorn and a few friends.


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