What Daphne Saw is a short film that touches on a number of themes. The story deals with sexism, abuse, and gender roles. Set in a future where capital punishment no longer exists, it is incredibly disturbing and extremely powerful.
Violent criminals who were once given life sentences or the death penalty are reprogrammed as servants. Their tongues have been removed and their brains have been operated on. In essence, they have become the perfect servant: unwilling and unable to put up resistance. Daphne has recently been purchased by Paul who harbors dark secrets.
What Daphne Saw is frightening and tension filled. It is clear Paul is hiding something from almost the second he is introduced. At first, it seems like simple misogyny. He wants to make it clear he is the man in charge of his house. There are hints of Stanford prison experiment syndrome also. Even worse is the dreadful sense that things are going to get much worse.
Paul quickly reveals how horrible of a person he is and it is terrifying. What starts as verbal and emotional abuse becomes much more physical and sexual. Daphne soon learns Paul’s secret in an incredibly powerful scene.
The story is told through fantastic camera work and a moving performance by Selynne Silver. Director Lizz Marshall moves the camera around slowly to deliver the full emotional impact. Silver conveys emotion solely through looks and actions. Her performance is as painful to watch.
What Daphne Saw is an emotionally charged short film that will make the audience feel uncomfortable. It brings to light topics that are reluctantly discussed. In the light of current events, it also serves as a reminder of how the people trusted most can be the most dangerous. The story ends with an air of hopefulness that also says change can be enacted by those who are brave enough.