The Blackcoat’s Daughter (Or February depending on where you live) is a slow-burning, psychological horror film that served to suck me into the moment by the way it builds upon its unsettling atmosphere.
Watching it, I was reminded of the works of Robert Eggers, Ari Aster and some early Brad Anderson (Session 9, definitely). Writer / Director Oz Perkins has that same sort of sensibilities to horror, that same sort of eye to how he tells the story and frames what we, the audience, sees.
Granted, The Blackcoat’s Daughter is it’s own beast – it features some non-linear storytelling that engages the mind to sort through the puzzle pieces – but it’s the slow, simmering style that hypnotises and Oz Perkins keeps finding ways for the film to creep under your skin.
Emma Roberts, Lucy Boynton and Kiernan all turn in muted yet affecting performances – in line with the simmering tone – as three key characters centred around the closed-off boarding school and James Remar lends fantastic support as Bill, a sympathetic character.
It’s a slow burning piece but it’s also one that lets the audience collect the pieces and put the story together in a way I’m still digesting on. Do I like this fact? Or do I think it’s too vague in a way that is detrimental to its characters?
In any case, it has a hypnotic quality to the film – fully and powerfully in command of the moment regardless of how I digest the film.
This is one of those films you can’t talk for long about without going into the details of the story. Just know this – if you’re a fan of films like The Witch or Hereditary or other such slow psychological horror films – Rosemary’s Baby, say? – then The Blackcoat’s Daughter / February will be for you.