Review: ‘Daniel Isn’t Real’ is one of the best indie horrors of 2019.

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SYNOPSIS: Troubled college freshman Luke (Robbins) suffers a violent family trauma and resurrects his childhood imaginary friend Daniel (Schwarzenegger) to help him cope. Charismatic and full of manic energy, Daniel helps Luke to achieve his dreams, before pushing him to the very edge of sanity and into a desperate struggle for control of his mind — and his soul.

 

I never had an imaginary friend growing up and I’m not sure if my two kids will ever have one… I hope they never have one like Daniel. In Daniel Isn’t Real, trauma and family history trigger the return of Luke’s coping mechanism, in the form of a dark, brooding (if not douchey rich kid persona kind of way) imaginary friend. He’s suave as hell. He’s Luke’s answer to social awkwardness. He’s also a death trap. While the film has elements of Fight Club and Drop Dead Fred (yeah, I said it), it’s much more complex. Based on Brian DeLeeuw‘s novel “In This Way I Was Saved”, director Adam Egypt Mortimer, who also co-wrote the script with DeLeeuw, brings genre fans something meaty and messed up.

Mary Stuart Masterson as Luke’s mother is devastating and raw. Sasha Lane as Cassie is quirky and cool. Miles Robbins as Luke is everything you need him to be; vulnerable, honest, and terrified. His fear is palpable from start to finish. Bravo, I say. Patrick Schwarzenegger is so horrifying it’s brilliant. He and Robbins make a perfect duo. You will not be able to tear your eyes away from the screen. The arc of these two performances will blow your mind. The ominous build-up of the script is genuinely unsettling. The sound editing, particularly the dynamics of volume, is startling and incredibly effective. The visual effects are beyond amazing. Daniel Isn’t Real is one of the most engrossing indie horrors of the year. Adam Egypt Mortimer has given us something ridiculously unique and I cannot wait to see what comes next.

Samuel Goldwyn Films will release the horror/thriller DANIEL ISN’T REAL in theaters, on digital and on-demand December 6, 2019

*World Premiere – SXSW Film Festival 2019**

**Official Selection – Fantasia Film Festival 2019**

**Official Selection – Sitges Film Festival 2019**

**Official Selection – FrightFest 2019**

DANIEL ISN’T REAL features Patrick Schwarzenegger (Midnight Sun,”The Long Road Home”), Miles Robbins (Blockers, Halloween), Sasha Lane (HellboyAmerican Honey), Hannah Marks (“Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency”Southbound), Mary Stuart Masterson (Fried Green Tomatoes, Some Kind of Wonderful). The film was directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer (Some Kind of Hate, Holidays) who also co-wrote the film with Brian DeLeeuw (Paradise Hills, Some Kind of Hate).

 

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