During the dead of winter, a troubled young woman embarks on a mysterious journey to an isolated prep school where two stranded students face a sinister threat from an unseen evil force.

Director Oz Perkins seems to be a name I should be watching out for, if his movie output that I’ve seen is any indication. So far, he’s only directed two movies: I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House and this particular movie here, The Blackcoat’s Daughter, and I’ve only seen this one out of the two. But, just by watching The Blackcoat’s Daughter, I’m taken in by his rather potent slow-burning and intense style of horror movie making, something that has not been seen or experienced for a long time in this modern age.

I first heard about The Blackcoat’s Daughter in my standard way, from the rather good press given by some of the online reviewers I frequent. When I first heard of the title, The Blackcoat’s Daughter, I thought it was going to be another period piece, like The VVitch. The word “blackcoat” is normally a disparaging term for a clergyman, so I thought maybe another Ye Olde Timey tale of Puritan shenanigans. Or something like that. But, instead, it’s set at a Catholic boarding school in modern-ish times. Either way, I watched it, and here’s what I thought of it:

In The Blackcoat’s Daughter, it’s break time at a Catholic boarding school in upstate New York, and all the girls there have been picked up by their parents…except young Kat and the older girl Rose, whose parents haven’t shown up yet. The later of the two just gave her parents the wrong information so she could tell her boyfriend she might be pregnant; the former has had some disturbing dreams about her parents getting into a horrible car accident on the way to get her, so that may be what’s keeping them from showing up on time. With only them and a couple of nuns that live adjacent to the school there, Rose is given the task of looking after Kat. And so she does whatever any older sister-type would do: Tells Kat a story about the nuns at the school being devil worshipers, then leaving her alone for a date. Meanwhile, an apparent escapee from a mental institution has arrived at a bus stop late at night, and hitches a ride with an altruistic man and his wife. Meanwhile, back at the boarding school, Kat has been acting rather odd, which may have something to do with acting out because her parents haven’t shown up or called…or maybe she got possessed by the devil. Anyway, evil shenanigans ensue, people suddenly find themselves losing their heads (literally), and by the power of non-linear storytelling, the twist is…underwhelming, but still effective.

Overall, The Blackcoat’s Daughter was a very effective, very intense and atmospheric psychological horror movie that was wisely allowed to build slowly, creating a very tense atmosphere that didn’t rely on jump scares or loud music stings to freak out the crowd. This movie gets under your skin, and takes its time doing so, much like Rosemary’s Baby and The Omen. The story is also written in a way that, like the classic The Turn Of The Screw, you don’t know if there really is a supernatural evil influencing things, or if the girl in question is merely mentally unbalanced. Admittedly, the “twist” ending probably won’t do much for you, but by the end of the movie, you will be left drained and quite effected by how things unraveled. This movie stuck in my head long after watching, which makes this one of the better movie’s I’ve seen in a while.

Highly Recommended.