Directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer, and based on the book In The Way I Was by Brian DeeLeuw, Daniel Isn’t Real is a tale of debilitating mental illness structured around the concept of having an imaginary friend.
The imaginary childhood friend Daniel (Patrick Schwarznegger) of Luke (Miles Robbins) is banished at a young age, but as a traumatic events ensue Luke is encouraged to “not be afraid, but to connect with his imagination” by his therapist. This releases imaginary friend Daniel from his constraints, and with his American Pschyo meets Drop Dead Fred persona, such begins a series of relative inoffensive pranks, picks up girls and general mischief.
Soon enough, however, the relationship turns into something more sinister as Daniel becomes a mere observer to Luke’s life, albeit only momentarily. Daniels lack of feeling and reality is demonstrated when he can only answer a simple question of “How Does the Water Feel?” with…. “I don’t know”.
From here the story morphs into a story of mental struggle and schizophrenia masked by a story of a possession-like situation where Luke eventually threatens Daniel with the ultimatum “I imagined you, I can make you go away”. But of course, it would never be so simple would it.
Daniel (aka Luke’s mental illness) is finally recognised by his peers… but is it too late to help? By this stage Luke’s life, and subsequently the movie takes on more of a Hellraiser psychological type horror feeling leading to a dramatic finale.
Movie Review By Lindsay Bulach
Daniel Isn’t Real screens 10:15pm Sat, 2nd November, GU Film House, Adelaide as part of Fangoria x Monster Fest 2019.
For film info, session times and ticketing, visit: http://www.monsterfest.com.au/australia