It took a while for the debut of writer-director Oz Perkins (or Osgood) to finally hit the screen, but for many horror fans The Blackcoat’s Daughter was just what they were craving. A slow burn slice of slasher and supernatural horror that never relies on jump scares to be effective, The Blackcoat’s Daughter slowly unravels before your eyes before its unsettling conclusion.
In a private Catholic school in the dead of winter in upstate New York, Kat (Kiernan Shipka) and Rose (Lucy Boynton) have been left behind over the winter break. Kat is a quiet and shy young woman which runs opposite of Rose, who is more rebellious and outgoing. Making the seclusion at school even more harrowing, Rose fears that she’s pregnant. In the cold, dimly lit hallways, Kat starts to have strange experiences and it eventually leads to a mysterious illness.
Elsewhere, Joan (Emma Roberts) has just exited a bus heading towards upstate New York. Flashbacks indicate that this young woman has just been released from a mental institution, though the details of any such stay are withheld. Joan is given a ride by Bill (James Remar) and his wife Linda (Lauren Holly), and a past trauma looms over the couple. Eventually the icy road will lead these two separate threads to meet in a shocking, unexpected conclusion.
In his debut, Perkins shows that he’s much more interested in an atmospheric sense of horror and unease than jump scares. The Blackcoat’s Daughter takes its time slowly setting its pieces into place, and some expecting a more full-throttled horror experience might get a little restless waiting for the jolts to come. Don’t worry, dear gorehounds, the shocking moments come, but they come later in the film. What exactly happens won’t be divulged here because anything that happens later in the film is most definitely a spoiler.
On the Blu-ray is audio commentary from writer-director Oz Perkins and a featurette about the making of the film, both items unavailable on the streaming version of the film currently available on Amazon Prime. Fans of horror that like a film that builds in its terror, suspense, and mystery will love the ambiance that surrounds The Blackcoat’s Daughter.
Of course, there are a number of twists and turns at the conclusion of The Blackcoat’s Daughter, and the effectiveness of each varies quite a bit. Personally, I enjoyed a couple of the more shocking reveals. There is, however, one that just rubbed me the wrong way, as it was decision that robbed the film of a certain aspect of its horror. But one little gripe isn’t enough to undue the escalating creepiness of The Blackcoat’s Daughter, which marks the arrival of Oz Perkins as one of the next big voices in the horror world.
The Blackcoat's Daughter
- Overall Score
A slow burn piece of horror filmmaking, The Blackcoat’s Daughter mark the arrival of writer-director Oz Perkins as the next big voice in horror.