The Blackcoat's Daughter (2015)
July 5, 2018 6:36 PM - Subscribe

In this bleak, atmospheric slow-burn of a horror film, two girls get left behind at their boarding school over winter break. Strange and unsettling things happen.

When their parents fail to pick them up, Rose, a senior, is asked to look after Kat, a freshman, but wants nothing to do with it. When Rose sneaks out on a date, Kat is left on her own, which appears to set some supernatural events in motion. We later cut to the story of Joan, a seemingly lost woman who may have escaped or been released from a hospital. As the film reaches its bloody conclusion, we learn how their stories tragically intertwine. Set in the winter in New England, The Blackcoat's Daughter touches on themes of isolation, abandonment, and shifting identities.
posted by treepour (5 comments total)
 
Bleak is exactly how I'd describe this as well. I thought it was very good but I needed a stuff drink afterwards. Or three. Not the feel good movie of the summer.

So it was exactly how I like them.
posted by Justinian at 11:24 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


One thing that puzzled me immediately after watching it is that there was that the origin of the possession was never given. After reading a few explainers online, especially this one, I came to the conclusion that nothing supernatural is taking place. Kat is very seriously mentally ill, and we're seeing the world how she sees it. That's why there's no account given for the origin of her possession.

This analysis doesn't come to the same conclusion but casts the murder of Joan's parents as a failed attempt by Kat by reconnect with the only being she felt truly connected to. The furnace remains off and cold, despite her offering. Her sorrow at the end isn't just realizing the gravity of her crimes -- it's the realization that they were for nothing and she's still completely alone.

Those two thoughts together really made me find the film far more bleak and heartbreaking than when I first watched it.
posted by treepour at 8:12 AM on July 6


I think the second analysis is correct and is how I viewed the film. Whether or not Kat was actually possessed is obviously unanswerable but I prefer the interpretation that she was possessed (or at least highly influenced) by a supernatural entity. In my mind it adds to the tragedy and horror because it means that she was entirely responsible for the later murders despite being of completely sound mind at that point. Which isn't the case if she was seriously mentally ill throughout.

I'd like more horror films like this and fewer mediocre Conjuring/Insidious ripoffs.
posted by Justinian at 1:43 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


If we're talking about responsibility and having a sound mind, I think a previous possession by an honest bygawsh demon might still absolve one from future erratic behavior somewhat.

TONIGHT ON THE PEOPLE'S COURT
Judge: "What was your crime?"
Sally Draper: "I killed people when I grew up."
Judge: "Were you crazy?"
Sally Draper: "Well... a demon actually possessed me and made me kill people when I was young."
Judge: "Did the demon return your mind to you intact with an inspection and receipt, and direct you to free post-possession trauma counseling?"
Sally Draper: [mumbles]
Judge: "The court finds the demon acted responsibly, all fault lies with the defendant." *gavel*

I do agree that I think the most interesting thing is that if she is "sane" at the end.

Having had mental illness myself (self-harm, not others, I hasten to add lol) I did think that it was a chilling portrayal at just, being unable to escape the trauma, being left not knowing what is real and what isn't or where one's identity stops. I don't think this movie was quote on Babadook levels of pure metaphor but not too far away.

Being in an institutional place after hours/time is always creepy as fuck and so this movie succeeded on that level.
posted by fleacircus at 5:48 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


I don't understand how Rose's parents didn't recognize Kat. Yes, it's been nine years since the murders and she's now 23/24 instead of 14/15, but they would very likely have seen her in court as well as the many pictures that would have been published of her during the time of the arrest/trial. Surely her features would have been seared on their memories.

And what happened to Kat's parents?
posted by orange swan at 6:08 PM on July 17


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