July 15, 2016

VOD Review: The Blackcoat's Daughter (2016)

"Maybe the best Genre movie that we've seen all year."

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3286052/?ref_=nv_sr_1
(aka February.)
Release Date: TBA.
Country: USA.
Rating: R.
Written by: Oz Perkins.
Directed by: Oz Perkins.
Starring: Kiernan Shipka, Emma Roberts, Lucy Boynton, James Remar, and Lauren Holly.

Every year, there's one or two Horror movies that everyone hails as being "transcendent" or "genre changing," or something to that effect. Whatever the tag-line that gets attached to them, movies like It Follows, The Babadook, Cabin in the Woods, You're Next, and We Are Still Here end up being critical darlings, and find themselves on everyone's Must See list.

So far this year, the critical darlings seem to be The Witch, Green Room, and The Invitation. All three are great flicks in their own right, and they each deliver their own brand of chills, but I'm going to throw The Blackcoat's Daughter into that mix and say that it's every bit as good as those other movies. In fact, it very well could be better.

*The Blackcoat's Daughter (February) was supposed to be released today as an exclusive on DirecTV. It's not on DirectTV, and there has been absolutely no promotion or mention of the release by A24 (its distribution company), DirecTV, or on the film's Twitter or Facebook pages, so at this point we have to assume that its release date has been moved. IMDB has it listed as coming out on Sept. 30th in the U.S., so maybe we'll see it some time this fall. We've been sitting on the review since two of us caught a screening at the CCFF back in late May (because I wanted it to coincide with it's DirecTV release), but there's no point in waiting until September to post it.

It's hard to talk about The Blackcoat's Daughter (formerly titled February), without ruining it for the uninitiated, so we're going to have to be as vague as possible here.

This is a movie about three girls, two of whom are stranded at their prep school over winter break, and one who is desperately trying to get to the school herself. One of the stranded girls, Kat, fears her parents dead, and withdraws inward to cope; while the other, Rose, is terrified that she might be pregnant, and is even more terrified oh how creepy Kat is. As for the girl who is making her way toward Bramford Prep, Joan, well she's obviously been through something traumatic, and yet she stays focused on her goal.

It's also about Satan, who appears as a shadowy bunny-like figure, intent on possessing one (or more) of the girl's souls.

I know that basically tells you nothing, but that's good. You need to see this one as uninformed as possible. In fact, don't even watch the trailer if you can help it. 

WHO WAS PHONE?
The Blackcoat's Daughter is a slow-burn Supernatural Thriller that took us to places that we didn't expect. I know that sounds generic as hell, and the term slow-burn is used far too often these days to describe slow and boring movies, but this one really had it's own quiet, eerie thing going on, and it left one hell of an impression on us.

The Blackcoat's Daughter is as much about loss as it is anything else, and the way that it handles the subject is superb. The movie twists and turns around its three main characters (who are all related in some obscure way) in quiet fashion, and brings them all together in the end in pretty shocking, and dare we say fresh, way. I'd really love to talk about that ending, and what it meant for the movie as a whole, but it would kill the entire thing, and it would be a shame for you to not experience that build-up and resolution for yourselves.

I guess it's safe to say that loss is the key word here; some of it creepy, all of it tragic.

"NO I HAVEN'T CHECKED THE CHILDREN. WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?"
It was interesting how they handled Satan in this movie too (it could have been a plain old Demon, but we got the strong sense that it was Old Scratch himself.) His presence and appearance was all very shadowy and ambiguous, as if he were more of a feeling or ideal than an actual physical being. Oh, he was there at times, but it's as if his presence was a shadow that was always draped across everything and everyone, whether you could see him or not.

This is director Oz Perkins' debut feature behind the camera, and it's about as impressive as a first movie can be. Horror is obviously in his blood (he's the son of Norman Bates himself, Anthony Perkins), and If this is the type of thing that we can expect from him as his career moves forward, which it most certainly will, then we're in for some good times.

I'm not sure who truly stole the show in this one; Kiernan Shipka or Emma Roberts. Both ladies played their tortured parts equally well, and their performances took an already great movie to the next level. Lucy Boynton was on top of her game too, even if her character wasn't quite as prevalent. Even Lauren Holly and James Remar seemed to dig deep for this one, although with James Remar being one of the best character actors ever, that's really no surprise.

THIS IS NO TIME TO BE PLAYING BLOODY MARY!
So was the school used for Satanic Rituals, or was that just a rumor started by the kids? Were the nuns Satan's Whores? Was it all in someone's head? Who was phone?!?

SHE'S COME A LONG WAY SINCE MAD MEN.
What the hell is a Blackcoat, and who in the hell was his daughter?

WAS IT HER?
It might not show up until the end, but when it gets there, the gore is solid.

IT'S ONLY A HAND WOUND. RUN!
No nudity in this one, but Emma Roberts does appear in a towel, if that's your kick.

CREEPY, NOT SEXY.
A teenager in love is a fierce creature. So is Satan.

OH, SHE KNOWS. SHE KNOWS.
The Blackcoat's Daughter isn't a perfect movie, and it's probably not going to garner as big of an audience as The Witch did earlier this year, but it's an excellent film and one of the best possession flicks that we've ever seen. Very few movies these days stay with us as long (and as powerfully) as did this one, and we can't wait to watch it again to further dissect it. 

This was a near-perfect movie-watching experience for us, and you should absoloutly check it out when you get the chance.

A

The Blackcoat's Daughter was originally scheduled to be in limited theaters and on DirecTV now, but it looks as if its release has been delayed. We'll keep you posted.

Emma Roberts is fast becoming one of our favorite Scream Queens, pun intended.

13 comments :

  1. I initially wanted to see this only because of Emma but after reading this review, I got more excited.

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  2. Ho dear….This one is outstanding, what a great way to present such dark themes as Satanism, possession and exorcism in one single piece, there is something about this movie that just make me keep watching, I have to admit I didn’t understand what the hell was going on the first half of the time due to the way the director put the film together, and when it’s all explained it’s not that impressive or shocking (meaning the out coming of the main story), what it is impressive about this one is how some scenes explain nothing and at the same time explain everything and are full of symbolisms that lead the way to the story that is behind, and yes it remains a lot in a way to THE WITCH, but it’s an entirely different theme and presentation of scenes. in a very personal opinion I dig this one much better. Btw Emma Roberts it more than great in this one as well as Kiernan Shipka I can totally see them as great performers of the genre.

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  3. Hoo boy, did I ever think this was awful. Obvious, predictable and boring, made by someone with no knowledge of or love of horror.

    I really wanted to like this, but thought it was a genuine stinker.

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  4. Totally agree with you guys. My second fav Horror film of the year. I don't think I've ever seen a possession film executed this way. The atmosphere was thick and the story was intiguing the entire time. Good job with the review cause as you mentioned, it's pretty to hard to talk about it without spoilers.

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    1. Loved this movie. Wish I had it on Blu-ray to dissect a bit more, you know?

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  5. "Awful"? Really???

    Anyway, apparently I need to rewatch this one becuase there are things going on in the background that I missed according to the people on the IMDB message boards. supposedly you can see old scratch like hanging around certain scenes that I totally missed. Maybe the above poster also missed these, which is why they thought it was awful??

    I thought the movie was great, but I guess it was even better when I pay attention lol.

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    1. ""Awful"? Really???"

      Yup. I saw every single plot point coming from four miles away and felt that it was made by someone who has absolutely no love for or knowledge of horror movies, possibly even a disdain for them.

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  6. Definitely things going on int he background in this one. I'm sure we will catch a bunch of them when we re-watch too :)

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  7. Wha Wha What??? A Scream Factory release of Night of the Comet??
    And it was 3 years ago?? Come on...

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  8. Watched the movie and felt like left out in the rain during a freezing cold night. Nope, I didn't understand the praise about the build up and the story. The acting was good, I give you that. I don't think that this was a waste of my time but can't imagine that I will re-watch it to spot whatever I missed.

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    1. Myra, it's possible that you didn't miss anything. We all have movies we love/hate when others feel the opposite way about them. If it didn't click with you, it didn't click with you.

      Our opinions are always right though ;)

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  9. Amazing comparison and critique. Almost as good as what you post on Google+. This is one of the best horror films this year.

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