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John James is a writer; his wife has left him. He moves with his middle-school aged daughter and young son to an isolated house off a dirt road in South Carolina. The property has an Indian burial mound, which fascinates his daughter, Louisa, who's entering puberty. Strange things: noises on the roof and in the woods, the cat missing, Luisa sleepwalking clutching a straw doll no one's seen before. She visits the mound often, staying late, coming home covered with mud. John's younger son, Sam, is frightened. John learns the house has a history and seeks out the previous owner. Louisa's behavior becomes more bizarre. Is there an explanation? An ant farm and a missing babysitter provide clues. Written by
James and his contractor prepare a batch of ANFO (ammonium nitrate + fuel oil) to blow up the mound. This is a 'tertiary' explosive, which means you cannot set it off with fire. It would just burn. To set off the detonation, you need to explode a secondary explosive, like a stick of dynamite, which in turn needs to be set off with a primary explosive, like a blasting cap. See more »
In The New Daughter, Academy Award winner Kevin Costner plays a writer who moves with his two children to a large home in South Carolina. But John's (Costner) attempt at a fresh start is hampered by John (Kevin Costner) is a recently divorced writer than moves with his two children Louisa (Ivana Baquero) and Sam (Gattlin Griffith) to a large remote home in South Carolina to attempt a fresh start. But the adolescent Louisa is hardly impressed and blames her father for her uprooting. Without yet having established new friends, Louisa finds comfort in a large mound that is located on the property. The mound is curious in its existence and seems to have a power over the young girl. Even when grounded due to increasing bizarre behavior, Louisa sneaks out to spend time in the mud and leaves that make up the front yard heap.
John feels as if he is failing as a father until he begins to learn of the shocking secret of the home and former house owner that may have a connection to his daughter's increasing belligerent and violent behavior. Upon investigation, John finds out that the mound is actually an ancient burial ground that contains an evil that threatens the life of his family. But his attempt to bulldoze and destroy the mass only unleashes devilish creatures that come after his family like ants protecting their home.
The New Daughter was a surprise to this reviewer. It was surprise first that Kevin Costner elected to participate in his first horror film in a resume that lists over 45 individual films. But even more of a surprise was that his attached involvement in the film didn't catapult the film to a distribution or any fanfare when it hit the DVD shelves.
The directorial debut by Luis Berdejo (writer of REC and Quarantine) The New Daughter is hardly a bad film even if it is a tad uninspired and predictable in its attempt to build suspense. Costner is definitely committed to his role as confused protector and father figure and his presence in the film gives credibility to a fairly conventional horror film.
Towards the final chapters of the film we are introduced to the Del Toro like creatures that live in the dirt tunnels under the mound. Although their reveal is expected, one cannot help but wonder if the story would have been more effective if the evil remained unexposed or implied.
Considering the amount of inferior horror films that hit theatres in mass each month and contain equal parts bad acting and routine slasher kills, The New Daughter is above the meridian. There are few kills in the film ( a cat, a babysitter ), but they are effectively spaced out and it was refreshing to see a horror try and develop a story rather than increase a body count (even if the overall results were a mixed bag).
The New Daughter is one of those perfect movies to fall into late one Saturday night when nothing else is readily available. It isn't exactly pulse-pounding as the DVD cover would want you to believe, but it is worth a viewing and deserved a better fate than being a forgotten entry in Costner's history without even being properly presented in the first place.
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