dir. Corey Deshon
A young woman runs for her life with two men – Father (Starship Troopers’ Casper Van Dien) and Brother (Ian Alexander) – in pursuit. As a soft ballad plays over the delicate title card the scene changes to reveal the men, now covered in blood.
The family is only missing its fourth member for a little while however as Father introduces the newest Daughter / Sister (Vivien Ngô) to the household and their strict rules. Told that she will only have to stay in the home for a couple of years in order to protect her new Brother, Daughter is advised to follow the rules lest she ends up like the many that have come before her.
Daughter agrees to play along in order to save her life, but her need to constantly push boundaries leads to an uneasy atmosphere. Whilst Father initially seems relatively easy-going (in the world of horror kidnappers at least) he soon lets his uglier side show, punishing Brother, Daughter and Mother (Elyse Dinh) for the smallest of transgressions or their refusal to perpetuate his version of what the outside world is like.
Although similar to other twisted family tales such as Dogtooth (2009), Deshon’s debut differs in that the Father’s reasons for locking up his family aren’t explored enough to fully immerse. As such whilst the tension is skin-crawlingly excellent throughout the conclusion fails to fully satisfy; despite this however Daughter does a good job of closing with a full circle moment that’s just as unsettling as that opening scene.
© Kim Morrison