January 28, 2008

Movie Review: The Devil's Daughter

Disclosure: I was asked by the folks at Wild Eye if I’d like some screeners to watch, and if I felt so inclined, they’d apprecieate it if I posted reviews of their offerings. My answer to them was “Hell yeah!”, and in a surprisingly short time I had two of their movies in my grubby hands.

These guys are starting to release old made-for-TV thrillers and horror flicks. This is the Rocket Jones review of the second one, in my own informal style (the first, Crawlspace, can be found here). As an added bonus, Wildside Cinema has asked me to post reviews there as well (in their own format). So the astute businessmen at Wild Eye are getting a two-fer, which should be a lesson to all, Rocket Jones is an efficient use of your resources and you should all send me free screeners to review. End disclosure and shameless self-promotion.

When you or I hear someone ask, "who's yer daddy?", we chuckle (or pant, depending on the situation I suppose). Yet when Diane hears it, the correct answer is "SATAN", although she doesn't know it yet.

The Devil's Daughter (1973), tells the story of a young woman who has one helluva pedigree. Rosemary's Baby introduced us to the idea of the Dark Lord's child being born, and this movie (airing a few years later, and three years before The Omen), runs with the concept.

After Diane was born, her mother had misgivings about the agreement, so she found a loophole that kept the coven out of their lives for 21 years. Mom also found religion. This makes me wonder if the Devil is such a lousy lover that he drives women into the arms of Jesus.

So after mom dies, Diane returns home for the funeral and meets Lilith, an old family friend (translation: member of the coven). Lilith is played by Shelley Winters, who is one of Hollywood's most underappreciated actresses. Before you know it, Diane has moved into a spare room in Lilith's huge home, and is being introduced to more of her mom's circle of friends (translation: rest of the coven). More and more, Lilith tries to take control of Diane's life while Diane pushes back, trying to maintain her independence.

Besides the aforementioned Shelley Winters, Jonathan Frid (Dark Shadows) gives a fine performance and Abe Vigoda (Barney Miller) also makes an appearance. The acting from everyone is excellent, especially the sisters next door, who manage to be kooky eccentric and blood-chillingly creepy all at the same time.

Once again, this is a made-for-tv movie, so don't expect lots of action. Smart dialog rules here, and it works well to move the story along. Instead of scares, you get tension and edgy suspense. I honestly didn't see the twist ending coming.

The beginning of the movie shows a fair amount of damage from the original source. It clears up soon enough and the rest of the film looks good.

This movie was a lot of fun. I'm a sucker for most anything Shelley Winters appears in and you'll enjoy spotting many familiar faces in the cast.

After watching Crawlspace (which I liked) and now The Devil's Daughter (which I liked more), I think Wild Eye Releasing is off to a great start. I'm looking forward to seeing more of their stuff in the future.


Posted by: Ted at 05:44 AM | category: Cult Flicks
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