The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015)

blackcoats daughter poster 2015 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good looking, good cast

Movie tries a bit too hard with the story

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Blackcoat’s Daughter

Studio:  Paris Film

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s):  September 12, 2015 (Toronto International Film Festival)/February 16, 2017 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

blackcoats daughter joan emma roberts

She’s a little bit crazy…

At the Bramford Academy boarding school in upstate New York, Rose (Lucy Boynton) finds herself stuck with a freshman named Katherine (Kiernan Shipka) as they await their parents to pick them up for break.  Rose suspects something is wrong with Katherine, but she is also dealing with her own problems.  A mysterious girl named Joan (Emma Roberts) finds herself at a station trying to get home.  When she is picked up by Bill (James Remar) and Linda (Lauren Holly), Joan finds their fates could be intertwined.

Written and directed by Osgood Perkins, The Blackcoat’s Daughter is a supernatural horror thriller.  The movie premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015, but wasn’t released in the United States until 2017.  It received mostly positive reviews.

A24 is on a role.  The films picked up by them seem to be edgier and grittier than many horror films being made.  As an A24 film, I had a lot of hope about The Blackcoat’s Daughter, and it met a lot of expectations but also missed the mark at points.  Due to the plotlines in the story, a ******spoiler alert****** exists for the rest of the review.

blackcoats daughter kiernan shipka beheaded bodies furnace room

She’s going to have the best “What I Did on Break” story

The plot of the film is very obtuse.  You have three stories (kind of two a half), and the stories also jump around time.  The Rose story is told essentially first, then the Kat story, and then the Joan story.  It is a slow burn, but it also feels like they tell you too much of the story in the pieces leading up to each story.  I feel I knew most of what was happening with Kat by the time they reached her story, and the Joan story doesn’t necessarily work because Kiernan Shipka is too old, and I don’t think she particularly resembles Emma Roberts.  The pieces fall together loosely and much of the reveals are implied about the older Joan’s plans (and I am never that keen on plots where characters like Bill and Linda pay for doing the right thing…especially in their case).

The cast is strong.  All the performers give their all.  Kiernan Shipka has the meatiest role as the character who goes from timid to a killer, but Lucy Boynton has a tougher role as the one who has the walls closing in on her.  Emma Roberts’ character doesn’t have a ton of range since she is crazy to begin with and ends crazy.  James Remar seems to always play the same character but Lauren Holly’s brief “here’s what really happened” moment is solid.

blackcoats daughter demon

Who wouldn’t fight to keep this cute little demon in your life…just check out his ear-horns…

The movie also looks good.  It has that stylish horror movie look that other A24 films seem to have.  There is a creeping horror pacing and the visuals add to this horror.  I often was one of the last people out of the dorms in college and know how creepy an empty school can be.  I wish we could have seen a bit more of the demon (even in shadows), but the violence and horror is pretty grim.

The Blackcoat’s Daughter tries a bit too hard, and it shows its hand too early at points.  It is good but not great, but it is atmospheric.  Like a lot of horror movies that can’t make it over the hump, it is always disappointing because you can see how good the movie could have been with just a little more finessing.  It is still worth seeking out if you are a fan of horror and want some intense psychological scares.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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