Saturday, April 8, 2017

[Review] The Blackcoat's Daughter

After an initial festival premiere in 2015 and a title change (from February), The Blackcoat's Daughter has now received a more accessible VOD release. And thank goodness it's here, because this is a chilly, slow-thawing psychological horror film and a startling debut from director Osgood Perkins (son of Anthony Perkins, who played Norman Bates in Hitchcock's classic Psycho).

The story revolves around the shy and timid Katherine (Kiernan Shipka) and the rebellious Rose (Lucy Boynton, Sing Street), a pair of roommates stuck at a prestigious Catholic boarding school over Winter Break. Meanwhile, a girl named Joan (Emma Roberts) appears to have just slipped out of a nearby mental institution. A Satanic presence haunts them all, and it's only a matter of time before things hit the fan and spin up some bloody revelations.

It's all about the atmosphere build with this one. The film is exquisitely shot and crisply framed in the heart of a stark and snowy winter. Impending dread rises amidst the creeping camerawork, the shadowy lighting, and the ominous, piercing musical score that becomes a star of its own. It's extremely well-acted too, with Shipka, Boynton, and Roberts all giving moody and smoldering performances that feel pitch-perfect within this setting. And it's best not to give away too much, but the narrative is genuinely eerie, mysterious, confusing, and intriguing all at once.

So even though The Blackcoat's Daughter moves at a deliberate pace, you still won't want to blink.

( 8/10 )

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