The Daisy Chain (2008) Poster

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Mediocre horror with beautiful cinematography.
Survive_Kino13 October 2008
Female directors are too rare, particularly those willing to approach the horror genre. Walsh uses the beautiful Western Irish coast to create a bleak atmosphere of isolation and vulnerability. The plot is somewhat obvious, a young couple move away from the bright lights of London to raise a family, the wife is pregnant, and the husband has inherited his childhood home in Ireland, but the neighbour's child Daisy is suspected of being a fairy changeling, born in a fairy ring on Halloween. The Neighbour's son is killed under mysterious circumstances and the parents are soon to follow, the child is then adopted by the London couple, the motivation for this aspect of the plot is addressed but remains unconvincing. The superstitious locals become increasingly scared of young Daisy. The film lacks originality but has some redeeming qualities, the child actress Mhairi Anderson who plays Daisy is remarkable, providing a genuinely disturbing performance, the cinematography and score combine to give the film a unique character that is tense and compelling. The theme of fairies and the supernatural remains unaddressed which is frustrating, it is never made clear whether the girl suffers from autism, is very disturbed or is really a fairy changeling, a question left unanswered deliberately by the director, but in a clumsy way, that doesn't encourage the audience to feel sympathy for the girl, who is properly identified neither as victim nor as aggressor. Despite the flaws The Daisy Chain, a combination of Straw Dogs and the Wicker Man, is a beautiful and at times moving addition to the horror genre.
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Intelligent horror that reminds us of what it is to be different
gretago18 October 2008
What a strange and beautiful film this is. An intelligent horror with the underlying themes of motherhood and loss. A movie that reminds us all of what it is to be an outsider in a tight knit community and what it is to be different. Morton plays outsider and expectant mother Martha who has lost her first baby through cot death. Pregnant at the time of filming this is a brave choice for Morton who looks amazing!!! Steven Mackintosh plays the steady school teacher husband Thomas. A departure for Mackintosh and one that shows just how wide a range he's capable of playing. Into their lives comes a young girl called Daisy. This role is played by Marie Anderson who's first film this is and although mostly silent throughout she is riveting. She sets Morton and Mackintosh against one another as she inhabits their every waking hour and we slowly start to fear for their unborn child. The wildness of the landscape adds an eerie dimension against which the story is played out. Is Daisy the uncared for child that the community have abandoned or is she the fairy changeling that some say she is????
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A haunting and beautiful film that will stay with you for a long time
johnnyd212 October 2008
I saw this film at a sold out screening at the recent Raindance Film Festival. It is a beautiful piece of work both haunting and affecting. Samantha Morton gives an amazing performance as does Steven Mackintosh but it is newcomer Mhairi Anderson's perfectly judged performance as the waif Daisy that stays with you and keeps you guessing right up until the end. Shot in the magical but often bleak landscape of the West of Ireland this is a haunting and beautiful film that will stay with you for a long time. Another very very fine film from one of Europe's finest female directors whose individual voice and point of view is always interesting. Congratulations.
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Decently done
doctorgonzo2330 April 2010
The Daisy Chain is a pretty decent "spooky kid" thriller that kept me watching and interested throughout. It focuses on the experience of a couple (the wife is pregnant) who move to rural Ireland (or is it Wales? ) to escape the big city and the traumatic miscarriage of their first child. They eventually adopt a young girl named Daisy after her baby brother and parents die under mysterious circumstances.

It was well acted and well scripted as well. I found the atmosphere of the setting to be creepy and dismal enough to add to the general feeling of doom and gloom. I've got a soft spot for movies about dark children, and this one did not disappoint.

As other reviewers have mentioned, it's not filled with cheap scares or gore. I think that "creepy" is probably the word most often used in comments on this page, so I'll stick with it. My one complaint is that I found the ending to be less than satisfying, but I suppose that is fairly minor overall.
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Horror That Creeps Rather Than Jumps.
MrCandy4 March 2009
Horror movies, such as they are, remain a fairly uniformed experience. Despite the buckets of viscus and brains that are unashamedly tossed around the screen they typically conform to certain expectations; 15 jumps minimum, casual brutal violence and characters so wooden they have to chop them to pieces to prove they're homosapiens.

Horrors that have stood the test of time, The Fly, The Shining, Don't Look Now, The Exorcist, The Wickerman all have one thing in common; they shied away from quick thrills. Using relatively few easy jumps and the bare minimum of bloodshed, they work on a purer level of dread. Daisy Chain does just this.

The first thing that impresses is the direction. Aisling Walsh, best known for 2003's Song for a Raggy Boy, may not be working from a script of her own but the direction is calculated and assured. The imagery retains a painterly quality, the sets are draped in a muddy colour scheme which makes the outside grim and the inside soft and warm. Images such as the removal of the cross from the wall (only to have left an impression on the wall) and the barren wasteland quality to the setting (shot in County Mayo) leave each shot with a resonant bleakness that is nearly as harrowing as the story itself.

The acting from the entire cast is solid but the highlight must be newcomer Mhairi Anderson, playing the eponymous Daisy. The child actor shifts between menace, and adorable with impressive subtlety. Between playfully skipping around to suddenly kissing Samantha Morton directly on the lips, the kid manages to scare the bejesus out of you by doing very little.

And while people do get killed in this film we usually only see the end of the event rather than the beginning. The characters don't delve into hysterics, nor do they stupidly allow themselves to be a vulnerable for long. Instead life is shown to be normal despite the abnormal circumstances. The mayhem surrounding the main characters is only a by product of the strange intangible fear that exists within the (albeit hazard free) household. Shots are longer and issues are more repressed- living with Daisy proves to be more scary than living without (in the greater sense of the word).

Trust independent film making to lean toward the aforementioned classics above (Daisy Chain even features one or two nods to The Wickermna) and having the understanding to know what really affects in horror. Daisy Chain doesn't make you jump out of your seat, it instead creeps under your skin and lasts for days.
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Daisy, Daisy give me your answer do..
ambiguousnightmare30 December 2013
If you like films without unanswered questions and ambiguity then this film isn't for you. I normally like to discuss these ambiguities and unanswered questions with other but this films ending was very unsatisfying. It left a gap hard to fill. The scenery was pleasing and was generally well acted. The movie was dependent on the charm and eyes of Daisy. I can't deny that she is charming but the film is a little to in love with her. The plot is predictable. Predictable plots are fine if the ride to the conclusion is enjoyable enough. Despite the charm of the film, the solid acting and lovely Irish scenery this film is seriously lacking. When a film is lacking something I can't help comparing it to other spooky child films.

If you like gore then this one isn't for you. This film is about suspense and human drama. This film is very accessible for those with a low horror tolerance. If horror film were based on curries then this would be tikka masala.
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Q: Do you believe in fairies? A: No, I don't.
prrffft10 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The above Q and A took place after last night's debut screening at the Raindance film festival in London, an abrupt exchange between an audience member and the film's director, Aisling Walsh. And frankly, for me, her disbelief is the problem. For if she doesn't believe, how can she expect us to?

(I have not included spoilers for the film's ending; I only tell the basic set up.)

The Daisy Chain is set in a remote corner of Ireland, but even here the locals (bar your one token nut who nobody's ever going to listen to) do not believe in fairies anymore. Nonetheless, living amongst them is a 'fairy changeling', an autistic 10-year old Daisy who, with no more reason than that of a petulant child, is using her supernatural powers to kill off anyone who would get in the way of her mission to find someone to play with. Schoolteacher (Stephen MacIntosh) returns to his hometown with his heavily pregnant wife Martha (played by a heavily pregnant Samantha Morton); they are escaping from London, where their first child died aged only 3 weeks. Very soon Daisy's little brother and parents die in mysterious accidents and Martha, against her husband's escalating alarm, is stepping in as foster mum. If you think you know where this is all heading by now, you're probably right.

Comparisons with The Omen are inevitable. Apart from the setting and substituting a fairy-changeling for the Devil, this is basically a copy, with pretty much the same clichéd twists and psychological 'thrills'. The difference is in the level of belief. OK, so The Omen was made in the Dark Ages (1976) when many people still at least half-believed in the Devil. Today nobody does. But however silly the story, every highly-researched detail of The Omen carries utter conviction in its pompous, claustrophobic self so that even today, the viewer is still compelled to suspend disbelief and take that ride.

The Daisy Chain clearly lacks belief in itself (or much apparent research) as is evident from unnecessarily sloppy plotting, and from supporting characters and subplot strands that insubstantially manifest out of nowhere and go nowhere. Ironically, Ms Walsh (the director) seems to have lost sight of all this as a result of herself being mesmerised by the beguiling face of promising newcomer Mhairi Anderson (who plays Daisy), just as Martha in the film falls helplessly under Daisy's spell. Mhairi's perfectly fairy/urchin-like face and unsettling stare dominates the film but, as effective as she is, this cannot make up for the lack of scripted thrills. I sensed that much of the audience's enthusiasm afterwards was projected toward Mhairi's presence. Certainly, those around me with stretching necks looked eager and relieved to confirm that Mhairi is actually a sweetly charming and not-at-all evil young lady. Phew!

The post-viewing Q and A session held one other surprise that possibly explains some of these problems but prompts other questions. Watching the film, it was immediately apparent that Samantha Morton (whose films I usually always love) was heavily pregnant during the making of the film. Was Samantha boldly (and unsuperstitiously) taking method acting a step beyond? No. It turns out that in the original script Martha was NOT pregnant, and that the script was re-written at a very late stage to embrace this casting coup. This revelation left me reeling. For, as the film now stands, Martha's pregnancy is absolutely central and essential to the entire story. In fact, without it, there would be nothing left but Daisy's face.

And I still don't get why it's called The Daisy Chain.
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English couple move to Ireland after the death of there child and find themselves fostering a problem child.
blue_coat23 June 2010
This had to be one of the worst movies I have seen. From beginning to end it was predictable I can't remember the number of times I was able to "call" what happened next.

Plot and Script very "High School". Would advise anyone not to bother and take a pass on this one.

At the beginning I had hopes for something like "The Wicker Man" but the similarities ended at the accent.

I don't know what more I can say about this movie I feel like I just wasted the last hour and 20 min and I hope this review will dissuade at least one person from wasting there time watching it. This is a definite pass 3 thumbs down in this room.
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Dumbest couple in Ireland
frankblack-7996121 October 2019
This movie just made me irritated the whole way through. All that I'm left with is that the main couple deserved every bit of what they got. Nice cinematography through the movie though.
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Just not worth the effort
adamscastlevania229 March 2015
(37%) The sort of film Hammer would have released back in the early 60's as a B- picture to a more memorable film. The plot itself is somewhat interesting, but it still sort of defies logic as adoption laws in the UK are filled with red tape, but what really lets this down the most of all is the fact that it just doesn't know what to do with itself toward the later stages with a quite poor ending capping off an already so-so film. The performances throughout are acceptable, with Samantha Morton supplying the strongest aspect, and some of the location work is good; but this still struggles to both scare and fill its quite short runtime even with an unneeded sub-plot surrounding Steven Mackintosh's character. Overall it's too good to be a must-see bad film, and not good enough to be plain good.
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'Shut up Daisy, you miserable little fecker!'
Sankari_Suomi18 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
An Irishman brings his neurotically pregnant English wife home to the Irish Republic, where the local villagers are just as weird as you'd expect.

Following a tragic house fire they adopt a troubled girl named Daisy.

The wife is besotted but the husband has suspicions.

As tensions between the parents and their adopted daughter become unbearable, a sinister secret emerges.

Stars Michael Finn Seamus McDonnell O'Flahahaherty as Matthew McDonagh.

I rate The Daisy Chain at 9.99 on the Haglee Scale, which works out as a dismal 3/10 on IMDb.
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Scenic coastal mystery horror
robertemerald25 October 2019
I love movies that take you to another part of the world. The Daisy Chain doesn't shy from showing its coastal expanse of hidden rocks, wild seas and windy cliffs. It's worth a look just for that. This is the second movie I've seen that explores Irish folklore, the other being The Hallow (2015), but the two movies are vastly different. The Hallow explores an almost 'zombie' invasion of 'fairies', whilst The Daisy Chain looks at child substitution. This is a highly competent movie with a good story, script, casting and performances, as well as beautiful surrounds. The key, I think, is the choice and performance of the child, which is truly remarkable. It's all very haunting and deliciously disturbing. There are lots of movies that conjecture the inherent spookiness of early childhood. This is a good one.
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Severe Let Down!!!!
kolleen_adelphia129 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
When the movie began, I was hopeful. Everything was set up nicely. Great scene/set, excellent actors/actresses. A very exciting build up of the story line. They built, and built, and built. Until all of a sudden....... absolutely bloody nothing!!!!! Such a disappointing, and almost lazy ending!!!!!
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They are saying she's a Faerie Changeling.
hitchcockthelegend29 November 2013
The Daisy Chain is directed by Aisling Walsh and stars Samantha Morton, Steven Mackintosh, Mhairi Anderson and David Bradley.

Grieving over the loss of their first child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, newly pregnant couple Martha and Tomas decide to leave England and live on the Irish coast. They settle in quickly and things seem to be going well, but when their neighbours house burns down, leaving young Daisy an orphan, Martha and Tomas decide to foster care for Daisy in spite of her being a little different and introverted. Soon enough bad things seem to befall people who come into contact with Daisy, leading to the locals to suspect she may be something terrible from Irish folklore.

OK! There's some pretty venomous reviews of this out there in internet land, but really it's a very well constructed creeper that's not without intelligence. Firstly it needs to be noted that this is not a horror film as such, anyone searching for a scare fest or Omen like shocks are in for the biggest of disappointments. Secondly, taking some time out to read something about the legends of Faerie Changeling's will significantly improve your viewing experience. Walsh's movie firmly deals in the realm of superstitious legend, adds in a heart aching strand involving surrogacy via grief, and then lets it play out in ethereal beats till the chilling conclusion is reached.

Morton and young Anderson are superb, the former stoic of motherly instincts but still emotionally cracked underneath, the latter a pallid and unnerving presence that haunts the picture even without much dialogue. The photography around the coastal hillside location is stripped back for realism purpose, it may be beautiful terrain, but there's a greyness hanging in the air, suitably so as well. The musical score is a touch irritating, and Walsh is guilty of over doing the slow burn approach, but this definitely has more going for it than has previously been said. Not one to rush out and buy for sure, but certainly worthy of TV time on proviso you understand the Faerie thematics at work first. 7/10
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Truly Unique & Very Frightening
beorhhouse21 June 2018
Now this is storytelling! With all of the drivel out there trying hard to pass itself off as Horror, in comes this film with its superb acting and terribly terrifying plot. Ireland has never seemed so scary! (I lived there for a year, saw some strange things, etc. but thank God never saw anything like this!) I give this one a 10 because there are no flaws, and the finale is both tender and utterly shocking! There's been no film made like this before, and it would be a good thing not to begin a trend or franchise with this one. Leave it as the singular gem it is, and enjoy!
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