Alright, beasties. It’s that spooky time of year again. For this edition of Spooktober, I’m going to do a post a day but, like a great haul after trick or treating, I’m hoping to mix it up and deliver some surprises. There’ll be reviews, new or old, seen/unseen, TV or film. Depending on my wicked mood, there may also be lists, audio, or video. I hope you’ll enjoy it and remember: stay spooky.
The Blackcoat’s Daughter is one of the biggest treats this Spooky season that I’ve had for new discoveries. The film follows three different characters, Kat (Kiernan Shipka) and Rose (Lucy Boynton), two students stuck at a boarding school over the holiday break, and a desperate young woman (Emma Roberts) who is given a ride by Bill (James Remar) and Linda (Lauren Holly), a married couple who say they have lost their daughter (though, much like everything else in this horror, something is amiss). Both Kat and Rose’s parents didn’t make it in time to pick them up, and both seem like they could be keeping something back, especially Kat, whose behavior continues to grow more bizarre and terrifying.
The Blackcoat’s Daughter is a moody flick, and there’s a chilliness that permeates the film, its dreary, wintry environment is even felt within the walls of the desolate school. Each scene feels like it is moving closer, albeit slowly, to an inevitably creepy conclusion. And, in that regard, it does not let down. Darkness lingers in the edges of each shot, with excellent editing and sound design that draws the hair on your neck up.
Writer/director Oz Perkins‘ film feels like both a psychological isolation story and a taste of the occult. Kiernan Shipka is especially sinister in her role, with scenes that will make you shudder, or just have your jaw drop.
With an interesting non-linear approach and a lot of details that may require more than one viewing to grab, but show the level of layers within the story, The Blackcoat’s Daughter is an impressive feature-directing debut. It also seems like a fairly lesser-known A24 gem. The puzzle may take some time to clink together, but the pieces were all expertly set once you’ve seen the final reveal.
Deliberately paced, atmospheric with a creeping foreboding, The Blackcoat’s Daughter is a perfect watch on a crisp fall evening, that’ll take your mind down a dark path.
The Blackcoat’s daughter is currently streaming on Showtime.