A Daughter's Nightmare

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
A Daughter's Nightmare TV Poster Image
Family member menace makes this one iffy for young viewers.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Family love and unity and the need for parents is a value at the center of this TV movie, but kids may not grasp it, given the amped-up thriller ambiance.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The movie's main character is a bright young college student working towards a future job as a vet. She talks about needing to study, and curtailing partying so she will do well in school.


Violence is mostly implied and unseen: People get sick and weak rather than being stabbed or shot. But because parental figures are both victim and villain in this drama, the violence may be particularly upsetting.


Sex is implied by a woman being naked in bed. A woman and man rather coyly discuss his undressing her when she was passed out. He claims to have been a "perfect gentleman," but since he turns out to be a creep, the implication is disturbing.


One "hell" and "crap." A man is called a "geek."


Real-life music group the Dixie Chicks seems spotlighted in an oddly significant way, with a major scene taking place at a Chicks' "concert" (fakes shown in silhouette sub for the actual musicians).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Many scenes involve wine and drinking. A man passes off adulterating his lady friend's drink as her drinking too much. Characters are drugged and experience terrible symptoms.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bysarahm2 January 11, 2015

Very Good

This movie was wonderful! I watched it about 3 times in one day. I really liked it and it's a good thriller. It is mostly about drugs and has a little bit... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byKubacou April 28, 2016
Teen, 16 years old Written byMariana7878 February 20, 2016

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?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama and thrills

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