Spoilers dread winter more than horror films.
As much as I love to watch a film without any preconceptions, I’d rather have an idea if it’s a feature that requires me to be in a certain mood to watch. Atmospheric terror works better with a slow burn type of horror, but I might be a little saturated on slow burn right now. The film implies rather that straight out shows you gore and carnage as well as certain implications that could be either supernatural or just psychological.
The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015) was written and directed by Osgood Perkins. Left behind at their religious boarding school, young newcomer Katherine (Kiernan Shipka) and senior class Rose (Lucy Boynton) don’t really hit it off at all. Rose is staying behind to give some grave news to her boyfriend (she’s pregnant) and possibly deal with it before her parents find out. Kat is a little more of a mystery. Elsewhere, a young woman calling herself Joan (Emma Roberts) has escaped from a mental hospital and has just accepted a ride with an older couple.
How both stories are related and what Kat’s deal is about is the whole deal of the film which you only get clues about. That means your impression of the movie changes as you start discovering and figuring out what’s going on. First of all, don’t overthink it – it’s not terribly complicated. Second of all, the supernatural here is just an implication. You really can plainly explain this psychologically without any “satanic” acts at all or you can attribute the whole thing to the devil if you wish, but it’s a stretch.
The slow burn in this one is a very subtle build, almost imperceptible enough to make you doubt which is the genre you’re watching. That, unfortunately, might be it’s biggest flaw for mainstream audiences used to more violent vehicles. I did enjoy the atmosphere but I could’ve done with a few more horror moments (no, not jumpscares). I like that ambivalent vague notion that lets you decide what you saw, but I was hoping for something with more edge and even a little bite.
Recommended for the fans of slow burn and cerebral horror in that order with one reservation. A little more spice, and no I don’t mean fake jumpscares, would’ve gone a long way about keeping the audience interested. That being said, if you are in the mood for a more subtle horror atmosphere, this will work fine. The amount of gore is rather minimalistic. Those looking for something louder and sharper might find it underwhelming.
That will do for now.