Tuesday 12 December 2017

Movies: The Daisy Chain * * *

(15A, limited release)

Paul Whitington

Aisling Walsh is a most accomplished film and TV director whose credits include the excellent and harrowing Trial and Retribution crime dramas and the 2003 Irish film Song for a Raggy Boy.

She brings her sure touch and haunting visual style to bear on this Irish-based horror film that's pretty effective despite its fairly thin storyline.

Steven Mackintosh and Samantha Morton play a youngish couple called Tomas and Martina who move to the west of Ireland in advance of the birth of their baby.

He is from the area (though his accent does not bear much inspection), but she's from London, and she soon begins to feel every bit the outsider.

Martina is anxious about her pregnancy because the couple lost a child to a cot death a few years previously. Which is perhaps why she becomes so preoccupied by the fate of a strange young girl called Daisy (Mhairi Anderson) who plays wild along the cliffs.

The old man next door is afraid of Daisy, and even the girl's parents don't seem that keen on her.

But when they're killed in a freak fire, Martina persuades Tomas that they should take her in.

She'd give you the willies, would that little kid, and soon bad things are happening and the townsfolk are circulating the rumour that she's a fairy changeling.

You can tell from a mile off where The Daisy Chain is going, but on a modest budget Walsh manages to evoke a genuinely unsettling atmosphere and create a vision of western Ireland that the Tourist Board will not be copying any time soon.

Irish Independent

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