A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Daughter's Nightmare is a TV movie about a mother/daughter pair who are menaced by a man who at first pretends to be friendly. Viewers will see characters suddenly and traumatically die; another character is choked and almost dies. A dead body is shown onscreen, but there is no blood or gore. Parents are in danger and are killed, teen children are terrified and feel responsible. Many scenes feature characters drinking. No one drinks enough to get drunk, but the villain of the piece drugs characters and passes off the effects as the aftermath of drinking. Young viewers may find the violence and menace extra upsetting because it occurs in a realistic family setting, with young people intimately affected.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Ariel (Emily Osment) is living A DAUGHTER'S NIGHTMARE after her father falls ill and dies and her mother, Dana (Victoria Pratt) meets a creepy new man at a grief group. As Ariel tries to move on with her life at college, Adam (Paul Johansson) is suddenly everywhere in her mom's life. Even the attentions of Adam's handsome, yet troubled, stepson Ben (Gregg Sulkin), who's having his own turmoil due to the recent death of his mom, can't allay Ariel's suspicion that something about Adam is just wrong. And as her mom gets sicker and sicker and finally disappears, it's up to Ariel and Ben to unravel the clues and save her -- and themselves.
Is it any good?
Munchausen by proxy, the disorder where its sufferers try to cause symptoms, and even death, in their victims, is certainly a deeply creepy issue, not the least because those who have it typically target their nearest and dearest: kids, parents, siblings. This, plus the fact that all the violence and menace in this television movie is body horror, may make this particular outing more interesting to those who favor death-in-the-family type true crime thrillers -- and also more potentially traumatic for sensitive or younger viewers.
Osment is a natural and very appealing actress, and it's easy to buy her as a college kid who's just worried about her mom. The villain of the piece radiates authentic menace, and is a good counterpoint to Osment's critical co-ed. This television movie holds no surprises, nor does it rise above its source material, but those who enjoy the "menaced women" genre will probably enjoy it well enough.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether the ending of A Daughter's Nightmare surprised them. Did it end as you thought it would? How did the film telegraph its ending? Can you think of similar movies that had a different kind of ending?
Would it surprise you to know that this is the third in a series of films known as the "Nightmare" series? The other two are A Sister's Nightmare and A Mother's Nightmare. Why does this series exist? Why does it focus on the trials of women at the hands of men?
Lifetime runs many movies that people call "women in danger" movies. Is this one of them? Why is this appealing to Lifetime's largely female audience?
For kids who love drama and thrills
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.