"Excellent Psychological Horror... With Added Demons"
Arrow Films, generally considered a boutique label concentrating on releasing extras-packed packages of classic (and sometimes not so classic) cinema, have started to make inroads into bringing out some of the better movies to have played on the festival circuit in the past couple of years. Adam Egypt Mortimer's new film DANIEL ISN'T REAL is their latest release and it's very good indeed.
As a boy Luke witnesses the aftermath of a mass shooting and finds himself with an imaginary friend called Daniel. That is, until Daniel makes him poison his mother. After that Daniel is banished to an old doll's house. Years later, and at university, various stressors cause Daniel to resurface. Luke's new / old friend helps him to be successful with women, pass exams, and to express himself artistically, but it all comes at a terrible price.
With influences that could include the art of Hieronymous Bosch and the horror novels of 1980s authors like Clive Barker and Christopher Fowler (especially Spanky), Adam Egypt Mortimer's second feature is a mind-bending melodrama that's redolent with hellish imagery that deliciously embellishes the is-he-or-isn't-he-mad plot. To say anything more would spoil the surprise, suffice to say there's plenty of nightmarish set-pieces in here that culminate in a satisfying ending.
Like their recent release of HARPOON, among the wealth of extras on Arrow's disc is the introduction and post-screening Q&A from the film's UK premiere at Frightfest last August, as well as an interview conducted at the festival.
In addition there's a director's commentary track, another Mortimer interview, a video essay on the movie from Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, deleted scenes, an alternate ending, trailer and still galleries. The first pressing of the disc also comes with a booklet featuring new writing on the film from Katie Rife.
Adam Egypt Mortimer's DANIEL ISN'T REAL is
out on Blu-ray from Arrow Films on
Monday 10th February 2020