Milking whatever atmosphere it has out of its music and sound, “Daddy’s Home” is an imperiled-heroine horror-thriller that’s far more of a curiosity than an affecting chiller. Advertising itself as the “first $4,000 mainstream feature film” (with a Facebook page to match), pic will attract a modicum of attention for its novelty and little for its execution, which suggests that, despite helmer Justin Price’s bravado, you still get what you pay for.
Angelica (screenwriter Christina Trevino) is a new teacher whose student Willow (Daniela Espinosa) never speaks: We’ve seen the girl’s father, Samuel (C.H. Morris), in the opening scene, drowning a stripper in a toilet. With Dad in prison and Mom (Anna Mardiros) no prize either, Willow relies on brother Steven (Sebastian Trevino) to see her through hard times — which are going to include a homicidal rampage by Dad after he breaks out of prison. Price has the right idea — his camerawork always implies rather than shows the mayhem, but it’s so oblique, and the editing so jumpy, that the viewer doesn’t know what’s going once the action starts. Acting is so stilted one wonders if it’s purposefully that way.