Daughter (2019)

“My daughter found another doctor. She said you can’t even treat your own daughter.”

Dr. Sharon Cheung (Asian Film Awards, Golden Horse, and Hong Kong Film Awards multi-winner Kara Wai) is a career-obsessed Hong Kong psychiatrist and single mom who’s fed up with and neglects Jenny (Yanny Chan of the Cantopop girl group Super Girls, in her acting debut), her rebellious teen daughter—with the hopes of marrying her off to one of her rich client’s sons. As Jenny’s rebellious streak becomes increasingly more bizarre, Dr. Cheung begins to wonder if her daughter’s rebellion is the manifestation of mental illness. Or is Jenny gaslighting her mother, who begins to suffer the onset of her own psychological break exacerbated her descent into drug and alcohol abuse? Or is there a supernatural presence pushing them both to the brink? Or is Jenny possessed?

Notable Hong Kong producer Pang-Chun Chan’s writing and directing debut isn’t a film about A24 or Blumhouse-styled shock scares and CGI poltergeists; it’s a film about practical in-camera effects; it’s about actors—through emotions and body language—selling the light, the color and shadows to give audiences the creeps. Chun Chan’s eye is all about slow-building tension and keep-you-guessing mystery. In the framework of the supernatural and psychological terror, he also presents compelling questions regarding the paranormal vs. hard science and western Christianity vs. Eastern Taoism in Dr. Cheung’s atheism and her rejection of her country’s traditional beliefs in sprits and the afterlife.

Distributed in the international marketplace since its 2015 theatrical debut, Daughter is now currently available for the first time in a (well-done) English dub as a free-with-ads stream on TubiTV. It’s an affable mix of Roman Polanksi’s Repulsion and William Friedkin’s The Exorcist, with a touch of film noir, haunted house and J-Horror conventions that, hopefully, if successful in the west in this dubbed form, Daughter (aka Shuang shen) will be presented in a U.S. region-appropriate DVD in its native Cantonese and Mandarin languages with subtitles (which is my preferred format to watch overseas films).

About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

Disclaimer: We discovered this movie on our own and were not presented with a promotional screener or review request.

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