'Daniel Isn't Real' Has Some Serious Mind F*ck Potential
Losing your mind. Some of the scariest shit ever.
Which doing so, or the fear of doing so is what leads Luke, played by Miles Robbins (Halloween) to see a psychiatrist after he starts having debilitating hallucinations. This psychiatrist misleads Luke into leaning into his imaginative tendencies; Including his long dormant imaginary friend Daniel, played by Patrick Schwarzenegger (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse). Daniel though, is a fucking riot. In more ways than one. So ensues Luke's world becoming completely unglued.
If you remember Miles Robbins performance in 2018's 'Halloween' you may remember him as a standout, likeable character who probably didn't get enough screen time. That is if you weren't busy just being pissed off at the "Peanut butter on my penis" character to notice (Toby Huss is a good actor by the way). The same holds true here. Robbins has a strange early career Johnny Depp charisma to him. Though, he's more 'Donnie Darko' than Glen Lantz in 'Daniel Isn't Real' there is definitely a future for this kid. Patrick Schwarzenegger goes for broke with his character, channeling an Nicolas Cage type performance that has its hit or miss moments. There's definitely something there. I think you'll see both of these actors have a bright future.
Unfortunately outside of Luke, Daniel and Luke's Mom (Mary Stuart Masterson) most of the other characters in 'Daniel Isn't Real' are just well....annoying. Maybe it's the uber hipster vibe or a couple of over the top performances but there were quite a few characters here that seemed left over from the angsty 90's. No, the bad version of the angsty 90's. I felt like Rick Dalton from 'Once Upon A Time In Hollywood' screaming "Dirty goddamn hippies!" at my TV screen.
Dirty modern hippies aside, when 'Daniel Isn't Real' works, it works. There are a few moments of fearless dramatic acting and amazing practical effects. Seriously, some of this is jaw dropping and spacey as fuck. Director Adam Egypt Mortimer is full of potential and so are the two leads.
The story does run out of places to go quite a few times, leaving you well relatively bored until another high point comes along to grab your attention. All that being said, it's a pretty goddamn impressive effort and one to check out before the year is up if you get the chance!