Wednesday, June 14, 2017

3 Short Paragraphs: The BlackCoat's Daughter

2015, Oz Perkins (I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House ) -- download

We probably should have saved this for October; it was a worthy entry for the horror movie viewing season. This movie written & directed by Oz Perkins, yes the son of Anthony Perkins (Psycho) fits into that indie horror genre that has risen of late. And by 'of late', I mean ... the last decade? One thing I have noticed as I get older is that periods of time, which internally seem rather short, are much rather stretched out than I recall them being when I was in my 20s. That said, this style choose to reflect another age, not just the age the movie was set in, but directing & mood choices that were common in the era, the 70s this time.

The tone and temperament of The Blackcoat's Daughter is creepy tension. Two stories are playing out. One has Kat and Rose forced to stay at the isolated Catholic school over a winter holiday, the former because her parents never showed (why? what is the backstory there?) and the latter because she basically doesn't want them to come. Kat is a nervous, rather creepy wallflower; Rose is the vixen, who may be pregnant by her townie boyfriend. The other story has Joan (Emma Roberts) making her way back to an unknown location, looking like she just escaped a hospital. We know the stories are connected, but not how.

Its not about the plot that keeps our attention. Its the tension. From the expected fear filled, empty, dark halls of the school to Joan's evasive conversations with a nice, religious man who wants to just help her get... home (?), we feel on edge. Something is going to happen, something is going to be revealed. And when it is, we are not entirely surprised, but what a ride! The understated style that Perkins goes for, that genre element I mentioned earlier, works well here. And while not a movie for the jump-scare horror movie crowd, it left me satisfied, as it elicited an emotional reaction, which few do these days.