Have you ever watched a movie that felt cursed? Maybe while watching you felt yourself shifting in your seat and thought that maybe you should hit the stop button. With THE BLACKCOAT'S DAUGHTER, the devil is lurking between frames and he is waiting for his moment to take over. In Osgood Perkins' film debut, isolation leaves a vulnerability that we've all felt and a demonic presence takes advantage of it.
Originally under the name FEBRUARY, die hard horror fans have been waiting for this movie to be available as it has been hyped for what feels like years now since it debuted at festivals. Word of mouth quickly spread via blogs and podcasts, but the release was put on hold here in the U.S. for a long time. In the meantime, we were treated to his second film, the Netflix exclusive I AM THE PRETTY THING THAT LIVES IN THE HOUSE, an atmospheric ghost story reminiscent of a Shirley Jackson novel. Whether or not it was your cup of tea, there is no doubt Perkins showed he had a signature style and a voice that can be heard from behind the camera. This is evident in THE BLACKCOAT'S DAUGHTER.
Kat (Kieran Shipka) has nightmares that her parents are killed in a car accident. Obviously shook, the feelings aren't helped by the fact that her prep school is being let out for winter break and the haven't shown up to pick her up. She doesn't have a cell phone or any way to reach them, but she isn't alone. Rose (Lucy Boynton) is also still at school, but she lied to her parents about what day she is supposed to get picked up. Her personal drama involves a surprise pregnancy and she needs some time to tell her boyfriend.
While this is playing out, we are also following Joan (Emma Roberts) who is getting a ride from a childless couple. This ride happens to go through the same town as Kat and Rose's school and their connection holds a sinister secret. There's something off about Joan and it's part of the anxiety inducing experience of trying to figure out what is going on. As they get closer to the school grounds, Kat and Rose find themselves surrounded by a demonic presence that threatens to take control of them.
I'm intentionally being vague as THE BLACKCOAT'S DAUGHTER is more an experience than a traditional narrative. It defines a slow burn, but, unlike many others with the same subgenre, this one actually has a pay off. I initially wasn't too sure how I was feeling about the film but as the minutes rolled on, I found the hair on my arms slowly rising. You know that feeling where you hear a strange noise in the dark, but are too scared to turn on the light? That's how much of the second half of this film plays out. While this never received a wide theatrical release, this is definitely going to find its fan base on home video via word of mouth from fans. Perkins is carving his name into the genre and I'll be looking forward to what else he comes up with.
THE BLACKCOATS DAUGHTER will be available on Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus Digital HD) and DVD May 30th from Lionsgate.