To the Devil a Daughter ★★★

As a big fan of supernatural / occult thrillers, I reeeeally wanted to love this movie. Hammer’s other adaptation of a Dennis Wheatley novel, The Devil Rides Out, is one of my all-time favorite satanic flicks, so my expectations were high.

There are indeed strong aspects of the film: The backstory of Lee’s sect offers a bit more complexity to the story, the production quality is a step above most occult flicks, and the performances are commendable. Plus it’s hard not to love Christopher Lee playing a diabolical antagonist.

Some unexpected things felt out of place for this kind of movie – for example, a rubber demon baby – but I guess are still entertaining if you enjoy a sprinkling of absurdity.

There are also, however, a few elements that are less satisfying. Some portions of the film seem like they were forced together like puzzle pieces that don’t really fit but hold together if you push hard enough. The drunken father character introduces so many unnecessary holes in the plot. While the pacing moves along steadily enough, there is room for much more conspiratorial and/or supernatural horror. And, last but not least, the ending feels very much like a lazy afterthought.

Ultimately this is still a decent movie, especially if you like Christopher Lee and satanic thrillers, but the unfulfilled potential of all the ingredients still make it slightly disappointing.