Directed by Oz Perkins
Written by Oz Perkins
Starring Emma Roberts, Lucy Boynton, Kiernan Shipka
93 mins - Horror | Thriller - Release date: 16 February 2017
The Oz Perkins-written/directed The Blackcoat’s Daughter, stars Emma Roberts (Scream Queens, American Horror Story) as Joan, Lucy Boynton (Don’t Knock Twice) as Rose, and Kiernan Shipka (Carriers) as Kat. The darkly compelling story of these three girls is told in basically three chapters, all of which are intertwined and come together to conclude the film in a shocking revelation./ ,
The light description that you’re likely to come across will tell you that two prep school girls (Kat and Rose) get left behind at their school, Bramford, over winter break. The girls form an unlikely bond as strange and creepy occurrences start taking place in the virtually empty boarding school. Joan, is hell bent on getting to Bramford as fast as she can for unknown reasons.
That’s relatively close the description you might come across. But neither is it very accurate nor satisfactory. There is much more to this tormenting film.
The pace of the movie is slow, but through well-crafted periods of little to no dialog and then giving us just enough to tap into our natural curiosity and need to know, The Blackcoat’s Daughter moves along very nicely as it builds toward the reveal. Nonetheless, I don’t recommend that you watch this movie if you’re feeling tired or planning on watching it in bed. If you do, you might miss the beautifully subtle details that emerge between bouts of heavy eyelids.
These subtleties are what make this movie that much better. It’s in the language, the acting, and the directing. There’s no Hollywood pizzazz; there’s no thunderously dramatic music. It’s just delivery. Like when Kat says, “Don’t go.” It’s clear, but who is really saying it and to whom is she saying it? The same can be said when, in the same scene, the Father says, “There you are.” There’s also that odd statement Kat makes to Rose, “You had your chance.”
Perhaps the first thing you need to know about The Blackcoat’s Daughter is that this is a movie about possession. That’s the evil, but is it the most evil thing in the movie? Is there something or someone that might be just a bit more sinister? Second, the movie might be a coming-of-age story about self-awareness and self-realization against a backdrop of a long, cold winter when depression sets in.
The second thing that might help you, is knowing that while there are three angles to the same story being told, there are two timelines. The double timeline opens up questions about character numbers, which might have you asking, “Is she…?” So, yes, there is some mystery buried in the tension of this thriller.
If horror is what you’re after, there’s not a whole lot, although there are some graphic scenes and some of the best stabbing sound effects I’ve heard. But you’ll be disappointed if multiple slash-style killings are what you want.
If you’re patient, The Blackcoat’s Daughter has a lot to offer and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s artfully crafted without beating its audience over the head with a bat that has “this is art” scrawled on it. In addition to being required viewing for fans of the genre, it should be mandatory viewing for anyone in film school.
Rock Hard \m/