22nd Aug2013

‘Daylight’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Jennifer Bacon, David McCracken, Josh Riedford, Sydney Morris, Jeanine Cameron | Written by David McCracken, Joel Townsend | Directed by David McCracken, Joel Townsend, Kaidan Tremain

Daylight-poster

Remember the Satanic abuse panic that originated in the United States in the 1980s, spreading throughout the country and eventually to many parts of the world? Reports proliferated about the physical abuse of individuals in the context of occult rituals. Since discredited and considered more associated with dissociative identity disorder and government conspiracy theories, the scandals went away.

Taking its cue from the scandal, Daylight sees Child Protective Services workers investigate a series of bizarre child abuse cases in the small town of Daylight, Indiana – where the allegations happen all over again, against lawyers, social workers, religious advocates and therapists. For as the mystery unfolds, they all discover the cases may actually be linked by demonic possession.

Yet another found-footage film (I really getting tired of opening reviews with that caveat), Daylight is an ultra-low budget horror film lensed by a trio of first-time writers and directors who set up shop in their home town of Evansville, Indiana to make a film featuring the town in which they grew up, using actors from the area. They should probably have stayed away…

I’ll be honest, Daylight actually features an extremely interesting premise – the idea of satanic abuse running rampant in small town America is ripe for exploration and the films set-up works too, using the conceit of footage from the child protective services investigation as a basis for creating their story – using talking heads and POV investigative footage – but the finished product just does not gel together as a narrative film. It doesn’t help that the film quickly descends into another “run round screaming in the dark” found-footage flick – the likes of which we’ve seen a million times before and the likes of which have almost destroyed this once-interesting sub-genre.

An attempt to do something new with the found-footage format, Daylight has to be at least commended for trying to be different, it’s just a shame the finished product ended up as a dull, confusing mess.

* 1/5

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