A potentially interesting story of possession & isolation ruined by a hatefully dull script and direction that believes long awkward silences make a film atmospheric. Plus it had absolutely nothing of worth to say about teenage girlhood, which, why would you make a movie set in a girls boarding school if that was the case? Fucks sake.
I think the biggest potential strength of The Blackcoat's Daughter turned out to be its biggest weakness. The whole film plays out as essentially two isolated incidents, which I like; but it was so adamant on providing such little context that it lacked the character development necessary for me to stay engaged. It ultimately results in a paper thin film. What I can commend is the spot-on tone and score.
Never understood why when a horror film favors a slow-burn approach over sustained tension and breakneck frights, it's finally thought of as smart and creative. Much like the undercooked dullness masquerading as intellect of The Babadook and The Witch, this isn't a literate or auteurist slow-burn horror film exercise akin to Polanski or even Nicolas Roeg and Peter Medak, but a lifeless one that could use more depth.
Lean art horror checks the usual boxes; this movie's obligatory Shining hat-tip is a turquoise robe worn by a murdered character. But for lean art horror, it has some fun editing, not just in the weird Rules of Attractionesque framing device, but also in pregnant pauses. And the space is palpably there for us, quite dreadful. Leads are perhaps trying too hard.
Sensorially, this wasn't horrible; I liked looking at and feeling it. But the story was just either too weak or messy to make it anything more than a nice photograph with scary music. Casting two different actresses to play the same young girl only nine years apart was such a monumentally bad idea.
If we agree that there is such a thing as anti-comedy, then it seems right to call the films of Oz Perkins anti-horror. He tells a familiar tale - here a sort of Suspiria meets The Exorcist - but does so in a stilted, shattered and strange, off-kilter way. Wrong enough to remove all the fun, frights and satisfaction from scenes, but shot so well it seems intentional.