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
Halfway through filming, cinematographer Checco Varese fell off a moving vehicle and broke his right hand. After working for a week wearing a splint and using painkillers, he flew to Los Angeles to have surgery; Antonio Calvache took over for five days. See more »
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 »
Up to a certain point in The New Daughter, I was reminded of Dragonfly. Both are low budget Costner films about a man dealing with a family loss which has a haunting outcome. It has been a while since I saw Dragonfly. Nobody thought it was any good, but it is way better than this film. To start with the obvious, The New Daughter represents what may be Costner's most lazy performance. It seems he has no interest in the story whatsoever. After a while the Dragonfly connection starts to fade away, and the movie turns into something else, something worse unfortunately. The New Daughter is torpid, and is bogged down by too much content, and not enough suspense or intelligent dialogue.
If I am gonna give the film any credit, it would be for photography. This is a gorgeously shot film, where the nights are cold, eerie and evocative, and the safety of home is warm, glowing and golden. The best shot in the film is the last one, which barely makes up for the utter stupidity of the ending. There is much left to explain, but in the end, I don't really care.
The New Daughter, is a spooky story, which is occasionally interesting but is less so than it is sloppily executed, badly acted, and not worth your money.
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