22nd Jul2014

‘Daddy’s Little Girl’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Billi Baker, Michael Thomson, Allira Jaques, Holly Phillips, Rebecca Plint, Sean Gannon, Christian Radford, Darrell Plumridge, Mirko Grillini | Written and Directed by Chris Sun

DLG-screen

After the police find Derek’s daughter brutally murdered on the beach, he vows to make the culprit suffer for his actions, even if that person is ‘part of the family.’ With careful research into the history of torture, Derek prepares himself and his basement for a week of brutal tactics that will make his daughter’s killer feel the pain that he has inflicted upon so many others. In a time when stranger danger is ever present, a single father learns that it’s the ones you trust most who have to be watched the closest.

Ive been hearing a lot of buzz around Chris Sun’s new flick Daddy’s Little Girl recently, mainly from the more extreme films fans on some of the Facebook groups I’m a member of. So when an email popped up in my inbox saying review copies were available I jumped at the chance to check the film out for myself.

In some ways I wish I hadn’t.

What starts out as in the vein of a true-life family drama – estranged father tries to do the best he can for his daughter, whom he dotes on, despite the friction with his wife – swiftly turns into something remarkably more… sinister. It starts simple enough – at first it’s just strange dreams and the creepy, ghostly visions Derek sees in the months following his daughters death (the kind of thing you’d expect from a supernatural melodrama you’d see on the likes of the Hallmark Channel or True Movies). But then things take a dark, and I mean very dark, turn a third of the way into the film as writer/director Chris Sun takes the audience to places many will not want to go – and it only gets worse.

Reminiscent of the Frightfest-screened The Tortured, Daddy’s Little Girl takes the idea of revenge, torture and violence to extremes Hollywood rarely dares to go, truly pushing the boundaries of what anyone would want to see in a torture-themed horror. Going further than any Ozploitation flick I’ve ever seen… Into the kind of territories normally reserved for “banned” horror movies like The Bunny Game, August Underground, Gutterballs et al. The closest mainstream production I can think of, in terms of gory torture, is the I Spit on Your Grave remake and it’s sequel. But even they really don’t come close to the levels of violence – calm, calculated violence may I add – dished out in Daddy’s Little Girl.

Australia was once a country known for it’s genre-bending, exploitation epics but in recent years we’ve suffered through some truly awful Ozploitation flicks, with – at least in this reviewers opinion – only The Loved Ones really capturing what made Aussie horror so great in the 70s and 80s. And whilst Daddy’s Little Girl isn’t as culturally significant as the likes of Stunt Rock, Fortress and Wake in Fright, it marks a return to the great Ozploitation filmmaking – only this time without harkening to the past, trying to recapture what was, and instead forging a new future for Australian horror filmmaking. And if you take anything away from this film, it’s that writer/director Chris Sun is one to be watched…

Not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, Daddy’s Little Girl is out now on DVD in the US from Vicious Circle Films/Breaking Glass Pictures and SlaughterFX.

***** 5/5

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