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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 »
I will spare you readers with the plot summary since it is already available in many other places within this site. I will assume that you, the reader, just want to figure out if "The New Daughter" is worth watching, so here goes my experience and opinion...
It is rare these days in the midst of movies like "Saw" and "The Unborn" to find a movie that finds something new among the old and over used. I can't tell you how long it's been since I watched a movie and then went to bed with "one eye open" afterwards. Movies these days just don't seem to scare me anymore. I've seen it all before. I watched this movie with my teenage son since we always enjoy a good psychological thriller. I wouldn't say I was a Kevin Costner fan - although I definitely wouldn't warn anyone against one of his older epics - and thought it might be almost comical to see him in a thriller. I was thinking about Mr. Brooks (the other K.C. thriller) and how that movie very much failed to impress me. But I have been occasionally surprised by actors that hadn't before made an impact on me, so I made the popcorn and prepared to be somewhat bored. The problem is (not exactly a problem... more of a surprise) that I WASN'T bored! In fact, I was on the edge of my seat, and by the end of the movie I was clinging to my son, my cat, the afghan that two hours before was neatly lain across the back of the sofa... I was completely creeped out!
There is an ominous background throughout the entire movie that really works. I kept thinking "This is REALLY eerie". The plot, the musical score, the cinematographer's grayish hue to everything, the director's decision to make everything very subdued, the lack of gore. All of it comes together to make for a pretty good watch. It all just kind of worked. Think "The Grudge" meets "The Ring" meets "Signs" meets "The Blair Witch". The New Daughter is not a knock off of these movies, it's like this movie takes the best parts of the aforementioned films and turns them into a brand new type of thriller.
This is not the best thriller/horror I ever saw, but it is definitely well worth watching. It was chilling without being disturbing. I gave it an 8/10 for every part that was unique, and for Kevin Costner's surprisingly honest portrayal of a father just trying to protect his kids. Additional kudos to Ivana Baquero as troubled Louisa James and Gattlin Griffith as the innocent Sam James.
Bottom line... Find something to cling to and enjoy The New Daughter.
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