If you read this site once in a while, you know I am a big fan of indie horror. There is nothing like filmmakers with limited resources and big ideas. That combination has led to some of my favorite horror and suspense films of all time. One filmmaker that is relatively new on the scene has a pretty impressive pedigree but is definitely his own artist. Oz Perkins is the son of Anthony Perkins, one of the best screen actors we’ve ever had. Although his father is best known for the role of Norman Bates, his incredible resume has over 60 credits with a wide range of characters portrayed. Oz Perkins has done some acting as well, mostly supporting roles in films like Legally Blonde or playing the young version of his father in Psycho II. But now he is turning his eye to directing and with only two films under his belt, he is making quite an impression so far. His second feature, I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House was a Netflix original and was a heavy atmosphere slow burn creeper that truly gets under your skin. His first feature, The Blackcoat’s Daughter, has just arrived on Blu-ray and it is no less impressive.
At a prestigious Catholic boarding school in upstate New York, the halls have been emptied as the students all go home for a winter break. But students Kat (Keirnan Shipka) and Rose (Lucy Boynton) are staying behind for their own reasons. Overnight in the huge school both girls start to experience strange occurrences that may be connected to their personal lives and start to affect their minds, possibly endangering the few people that are left at the school with them. In the meantime, another girl, Joan (Emma Roberts) has left a psychiatric hospital and is making her way back to the school for mysterious reasons.
The Blackcoat’s Daughter is a hard movie to summarize. It is full of dread and creepy imagery, it is slower paced but mesmerizing, and it makes the viewer unsure of what is even going on until the story comes to its conclusion and lets the audience ponder what they have seen and figure the details out for themselves. Perkins absolutely benefitted from his years of being around the world of movie making, his style and skill is confident, nuanced, beautiful and hypnotic. Not really what you expect from someone’s first film. His cast, including Emma Roberts, Kiernan Shipka, Lucy Boyton, Lauren Holly, and James Remar, are all on point and deliver understated but excellent performances. If you are looking for something a little different, a little challenging, very creepy and absolutely wonderful, check out The Blackcoat’s Daughter. Then join me in waiting to see what Oz Perkins comes up with next.