By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –
What a time to be alive as a horror fan. From Blumhouse’s growing ambitions to scores of international sources of great horror to arthouse distributors like A24 entering the fray, there’s arguably never been a better time.
Well, A24 has another hit after The Witch and It Comes At Night with The Blackcoat’s Daughter, a tale of three seemingly unrelated young women (Kieran Shipka, Lucy Boynton, and Emma Roberts) converging on a girl’s school on the first weekend of winter break. Hellish things ensue.
It’s Kind of a Scary Story.
While his I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives In the House hit Netflix first, The Blackcoat’s Daughter is the long-delayed directorial debut of Oz Perkins, son of Anthony. Of course the Son of Psycho himself would go into the horror biz.
Oz has real knack for this, though, with a death’s grip on tension. Almost every scene plays out brutally slow and ominously, even those in which little seems to happen. The unnerving buzz of a soundtrack from his brother, Elvis, especially coupled with sound design that is every bit as unsettling, does almost as much as those damn long take shots you expect to burst into bloodshed at any moment. Every frame is composed juusstt off kilter, designed to provoke unease.
Just wait until the Totoro demon shows up.
The three leading ladies all acquit themselves well, but it’s Shipka’s film, in ways I don’t want to reveal (the violence could come from any of them- or none of them. Watch it!) I’ll just say she has a haunting singing voice and does the best with the many closeups Perkins employs.
Perkins does pull a very interesting twist midway through the film that he unfortunately seeds with a few too many clues. Those without much patience might find this a bit too slow to develop, but hang in there- it’s coming.
And if not, I hear Rob Zombie’s still making movies
The Blackcoat’s Daughter is a ticking time bomb of a horror debut from a director who couldn’t have a much better pedigree for this genre.
The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2017) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every blank stare from Kieran Shipka
Take a Drink: for knives
Take a Drink: “You smell pretty”.
Take a Drink: for heads resting on pillows
Take a Drink: for creepy noises
Take a Drink: for hellish crescendos
Do a Shot: when you jump