The Blackcoat's Daughter

08/17/2017 16:50

Film: The Blackcoat’s Daughter

Year: 2015

Director: Oz Perkins

Writer: Oz Perkins

Starring: Emma Roberts, Kiernan Shipka and Lucy Boynton



This film is one that when I first heard about it, I was excited to see it. It was one that was hard to find for a stretch and to complicate it even more; it changed its name after the initial release. This one though I saw for the first time soon after getting into podcasts. I’ve now given it a second watch as part of the Summer Series for the Podcast Under the Stairs. The synopsis is two girls must battle a mysterious evil force when they get left behind at their boarding school over winter break.

We begin with a young lady having what we learn to be a dream. Her name is Kat (Kiernan Shipka) and dreams that there is a crashed car and what she believes to be her father tells her that her mother is dead. She wakes up and crosses a day off her calendar. It is February and her parents are supposed to be coming the following day to get her. She goes to see Father Brian (Greg Ellwand). He tells her that he has to go out of town and will miss her performance. Kat seems to be off during this whole interaction, including being bummed that he won’t see it.

We then meet another young lady at this school, Rose (Lucy Boynton). She believes that she is pregnant. She tells her friend about it and she is going to abort it. This causes her friend to question her.

The next day is supposed to be the last day of class. The students parents are coming to get a tour of where they stay and then everyone heads home. Kat performs by playing the piano and singing. Her parents do not show up and it bothers her. She doesn’t have a clue where they are and the headmaster Mr. Gordon (Peter James Haworth) tries to call them. He assumes there was just a delay. Rose’s parents didn’t show either. She claims that her parents messed up when they were supposed to arrive and that they will be there by Friday. Mr. Gordon isn’t happy, but will allow both of them to stay until Friday at the school. There are two women that work at the school who will watch over them, Ms. Prescott (Elana Krausz) and Mrs. Drake (Heather Tod Mitchell). Mr. Gordon also asks Rose is watch over Kat since they both are staying in the dorms.

Rose has other plays though. She is going out with Rick (Peter J. Gray) who would be the father of her child. She relays to Kat that she will be leaving. Before doing so, that there are rumors those that run the school worship the devil. This might not be the best idea since when she returns, she finds Kat in the boiler room. She is rocking back and forth in an eerie way.

There is also another story that going on as well. A young woman by the name of Joan (Emma Roberts) arrives at a bus station. She goes into the bathroom and removes a wristband from a hospital. She takes a map and we see that she looks at the town of Bramford, where the school is located. She wants to go to the next town over. She is waiting for the bus when a man approaches her. His name is Bill (James Remar) and he offers her a ride, which she accepts. His wife is Linda (Lauren Holly) isn’t too thrilled about this.

These stories are all interconnected somehow. We continue to see Kat act stranger as time goes out. There is also a horrific discovery in regards to her family. Bill and Linda had a tragedy of their own occur that will bring everyone together.

Now I had heard about this film from some of the horror film podcasts I listen to and I was really excited to finally watch it. I personally wasn’t disappointed. I have to give director and writer, Oz Perkins, a lot of credit. He did a great job with the story of the film. Early on you get how Kat and Rose are connected as they interact with each other, but as it goes on, it gets odder and odder until Joan’s story completes the tale. I like that the film keeps it ambiguous as to what the truth is with these three story archs. I enjoy this, because I think it should make you think and to draw your own conclusion as to what the outcome is. This film is definitely a slow-burn until the payoff which I loved. I’m going a bit vague here as I don’t want to spoil things.

What I will do though is delve a bit more into each one. Kat is bothered by nightmares in the beginning. We never see her acting normal. I get the sense that being away at a boarding school, she has a disconnect to people. She wants someone to be there for her and she isn’t getting that. Father Brian leaves, her parents don’t show and even Rose abandons her that night. Rose comes off a bit a problem child. She has a family who loves her, but instead she lies to them so she can go out again with Rick. It makes sense what she relays to him. Then finally there is Joan. Hers is interesting as we know she is unstable. Bill sees the chance to be a father to her and wants to help. It is interesting how they all come together.

Since I’ve delve into the characters, next I’ll discuss the acting in this film which is great. Shipka does a solid job at coming off as odd in the beginning and then as the film goes on and on, you see her mental state deteriorate more and more. Her look and how she interacts with those around her make it very believable. As it goes, she looks worse and worse. I thought Boynton did a solid job as well in her role. She is an older student who has a plan why she isn’t going home yet and she doesn’t want it interfered with. I thought she did a good job and it was realistic in how she is. Roberts character was also interesting in that she is quiet. The payoff with her though helps it make complete what has happened. I’d also commend Remar, Holly and the rest of the cast to push these three to where they end up.

For here I need to talk about the editing first. This film isn’t given chronologically. We will see a scene from one of the girls’ point of view, and then we will go back and give it in other ones. I like this presentation, because when you see from how one does and then the other, it helps you to truly take it all in. It really helps build the tension and keep the overall ominous mood of the film. There is something with this that some people have issues with. Both times I’ve seen this it wasn’t an issue. To me, it makes sense with the reveal. They didn’t need much in the way of the effects outside of the entity that Shipka sees. They keep this as a shadow in the film and I think that was a wise choice. The effects though were good. Finally the score I thought was great. It takes over some of the scenes and makes them even more powerful. I was highly impressed by this.

Now with that said, I thought this film was great. The story of the film is a concept that is based in realism and could definitely happen. I love that the filmmaker leaves it up to the audience to decide whether or not there is something supernatural going on here or if this is a case of mental illness. The acting of the film was great as well. The editing was very well done and sets the tone of the film. There is little use of effects, but the ones that are were good. The score was also something that was excellently used. I would highly recommend this film if you are a horror fan or not.


My Rating: 9 out of 10