The Blackcoat's Daughter Blu-ray Review
Written by John Colianni
Blu-ray released by A24 Films
Written and directed by Oz Perkins
2017, 93 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on May 30th, 2017
Emma Roberts as Joan
Kiernan Shipka as Kat
Lauren Holly as Linda
Jamer Remar as Bill
Lucy Boynton as Rose
Emma Holzer as Lizzy
I watch a lot of movies. From a young age I have able to absorb an impressive amount of media, whether it be horror and scifi films or video games and music. Over the years I have been able to appreciate all the different sub-genres that convey very different emotions. Some rely on jump scares and visceral visuals. Others take their time, building upon uneasiness little by little. Films with a slower pace may not be to everyone's liking. When executed correctly, however, the wait is almost always worth it. This rings true with Oz Perkins' The Blackcoat's Daughter.
Katherine and Rose are students at a prestigious Catholic boarding school. Winter break has come but both girls have yet to be picked up by their parents. Rose is left in charge of her younger classmate but sneaks off to see a boy who has gotten her pregnant. When she returns, Katherine, curled up in bed says she knows her parents haven't arrived because they're dead, Rose says she is overreacting. Nevertheless she barricades her door for the night, not trusting the attitude of Katherine. What follows is Katherine's descent into madness.
The Blackcoat's Daughter has a number of truly impressive qualities. First off, the sound design is the prefect amount of eerie and unsettling. The use of the right tones and subtle music never lets you relax. While there might not be a lot going on every given moment, the score doesn't allow you to lower your guard, making you anticipate what might be happening during the current and following scenes. The level of unease from this alone makes me want to share this film with others. The atmosphere perfectly mimics the score, never truly defining the chronology of the film until events are able to be pieced together at the very end. Acting is also superb by the limited cast members. In most horror films, the protagonists and antagonists are distinguishable. This is directly because of the excellent work done by Lucy Boynton (Rose), Kiernan Shipka (Katherine) and Emma Roberts (Joan). Because of the mood, it took much longer to establish the motives of the main characters. While this can be frustrating to some audiences, this is what was needed to tell a horrific story of madness, possession and evil.
The Blackcoat's Daughter isn't like any film that you've seen, even though so much of it feels familiar and personal. Oz Perkins portrays a story that isn't any more complicated than lovers of horror and suspense are accustomed to seeing. The biggest game changer he brings to the genre is the quite perfect pacing that guides the audience on a slow and very deliberate path from beginning to end. With just the right touches of the supernatural and gore, neither are force-fed and the result is a film that is truly worthy of a place on your shelf next to the greats. I urge that you watch this film knowing as little as possible and I don't say that often. Allowing the story to reveal itself in just over 90 minutes will be well worth your time.
Video and Audio:
The Blackcoat's Daughter looks and sounds amazing. Coupled with an amazing score and intense practical effects, the bluray release is everything that your TV is craving.
The making-of featurette, The Dead of Winter, gives the audience some more insight to Oz Perkins's vision and the actors discuss what their roles meant to them. It's just a few minutes and is worth it for those who truly loved this film.