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A recently divorced father (Kevin Costner) moves his teenage daughter
Louisa (Ivana Baquero) and son Sam (Gattlin Griffith) to the rural town
of Mercy, South Carolina for a fresh start. In the dark forest beyond
their new house, strange noises can be heard, and soon the father comes
to believe that there's something wrong with his daughter. Is it
connected to the strange mound of earth amongst the trees?
"The New Daughter" is not a bad movie at all, but it's not especially great either and that's what I found so frustrating about it. It comes so very close to being brilliant but somehow fails when it should have succeeded. Perhaps part of the reason it fails is that it needed a stronger leading man at its centre. The entire movie rests upon Kevin Costner's shoulders and he seems to virtually sleepwalk through it. The only time you see a glimmer of emotion is when he pounds his fists gently against a wall in one scene to show his anger. The actors playing the children are fine, even if they don't exhibit a lot of emotive moments and simply go from A to B as required.
The director does a superb job providing a growing sense of dread at the situation, and there are a number of scenes where he employs the 'less is more' approach, leaving it up to the imagination of the audience as to what a dark shape amongst the trees might have been, or what might be making a strange noise behind a closed door. The movie has a slow, moody pace similar to movies such as "Signs" and "The Others" which also helps to enhance the atmosphere. The special effects in the later part of the movie are also very well done.
In conclusion, I would have to say that "The New Daughter" is 'okay'. It's certainly worth a rental if you like slower paced psychological horrors rather than the type of movie where everyone runs around attempting to avoid crazed killers. There's hardly any blood, and it does contain one or two good scares, although the plot is a bit predictable in places. I only wish that it was more than 'okay', because all of the elements were in place to make a far better movie and that's what ultimately frustrates me.
In todays, "no imagination, every bit of story must be spelled out on
screen in action and with explosions" it is often to appreciate movies
that make you think, draw conclusions, actually use you imagination and
remember the source.
This movie is true to the short story it is based on with a good cinematic backdrop where the actors act, and everything isn't carried out on a blue/green screen. Costner's portrayal was very true to the actual character which, isn't that the point of having characters and using actors that can act.
In a genre that is quickly becoming based only on graphic, grotesque, shocking blood and gore sequences and predictable horror and grisly effects, this thriller is actually attractive for all the right reasons and should be enjoyed highly by those that appreciate true horror/thriller films as opposed to the blood soaked hacker/slasher movies that are being pumped out monthly.
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Kevin Costner plays an author who, after a messy divorce, moves to the
country with his kids. They purchase an old house on a ranch, and the
kids discover a mysterious mound of dirt while playing in the woods. It
turns out the mound may hold a long forgotten secret of mysterious
ground dwellers that practice some funky mind control.
Sounds terrible, but this was pretty decent. Costner, who's never turned in a bad role, is a very good hero. He was believable and didn't go exploring after he heard the "bumps in the night". The kids are good as well. I wasn't too surprised to see James Gammon in the mix, it's good to see him around since "Appaloosa".
(SPOILER ALERT) A lot of folks are unsatisfied with the ending, but I really liked it. In the picture of the family, you can see a figure struggling out of the mound fire, and you're not quite sure if it's Costner. Then, one of the creatures comes up behind the boy.
I thought the ending was very interesting. It leaves the fate of Costner and his son in the air, and I thought that was a much better ending than "They all lived happily ever after" or something like that.
This was a cool movie, good acting, decent horror, kind of slow-moving. Goes great with popcorn and a couple buddies or a spouse/girlfriend.
After reading that this movie was being made I thought the worst....how
many times have we seen an "A" list star lower themselves to the level
of cheap, made for TV quality horror films which just seem to spend all
of their budget paying for said star power & not actually being able to
spring for some quality script or effects...well; let me introduce you
to "The New Daughter".
Firstly I would say that the money spent on getting a top quality actor such as Kevin Costner was well spent...he grounded this movie with his laconic, home town American drawl & really pulled me into the emotional heart of this film. The class of Costner's performance was exhibited no more finely than in the scenes where he was desperately searching for answers to his fears...his acting critics, who have in the past accused him of being "wooden" (& much worse) should see this film & re-evaluate their opinions of this fine actor.
The children were also good & it was wonderful to see the great James Gammon in a quirky & pivotal supporting role.
Usually in this kind of film, the "bad guy" (for want of a better term) tends to end up some lame, crappy alien or a figment of the characters imagination & the ending lets down a strong set up & middle section. In "The New daughter" however, the screenplay is strong & quality right up to the very final few seconds which had me sitting back in my chair saying out loud..."NO WAY!"
I think Costner fans will rejoice at seeing this timeless American performer once again showing us the kind of less is better charisma the likes of which we haven't seen since the halcyon days of Steve McQueen & Paul Newman & the Costner detractors should swallow their pride & give him a chance...he may just surprise you.
7 out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There are parts of this movie that are mildly entertaining; otherwise, I'd have given it an overall 1. I know it's a formula for all horror movies that the characters must act inexplicably stupid, but Costner's character takes it to a whole new level. Without totally giving the ending away, I'll just say this. Suppose for a moment that you move into a house that has ancient Indian burial mound in the yard that spits out more monsters than the octo-mom. Then suppose your house is under siege by said monsters and you're protecting your young son by blowing them away with a shotgun. Okay - I'm with you. If monsters were attacking me (and my son) and I had a shotgun, that's probably what I'd do. Now, suppose that your teenage daughter is seemingly possessed by these monster things and you suspect that she has wondered out to the burial mound while you've been fending off monsters at the house. You then decide to abandon your young son in the house to the mercy of attacking monsters while you go try to save your daughter. Doesn't occur to you to get the son to safety first - you just take the gun - leave him there by himself and hope for the best. If leaving a small child alone in a house being attacked by hideous monsters is the choice you'd make, then this is your kind of movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Finally a new(ish) horror movie plot. When I first thought about seeing
this, the first thing I thought was, Kevin Costner in a horror movie?
But it totally works! With countless horror movies under my belt its
rare that a horror movie scares me, but this movie delivered and the
plot was great! What really scares me is that about 1/4 mile from where
I live in North Carolina, there are Indian Burial Mounds. I played on
them as a child. I don't think I will be going back out to see them
John James' (Kevin Costner) wife leaves him and he moves his children to a plantation style house in South Carolina. His daughter Louisa (Ivana Baquero) and his son Sam (Gattlin Griffith) go outside to play and discover a huge mound of dirt. Louisa starts to change, her behavior alarms her father who then seeks to find information about the mound. He discovers that the previous tenant locked her daughter away inside her room and vanished. Later the grandfather killed the girl. The ancient deities in the mound need a new queen and they have now chosen Louisa. John rushes to save his family from the dangers in the mound in this inventive and scary horror/thriller. A must see for horror fans.
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.
Not really sure why this falls in the horror category, thriller yes,
but wasn't really anything scary as much as unsettling and I think that
is were this movie hit the nail on the head.
As someone else mentioned this movie does give off the hint of signs, but with a twist, something that hits a little closer to home, and doesn't seem as far fetched as aliens.
As someone else mentioned that this movie is absolutely terrible, and i can't help but disagree, the movie kept me wondering the entire length and even once it was over. My eyes stayed glued, i never felt like i was bored or wondering when it would get to the "good stuff" It did seems to start off slow, and then ran really fast in the last 20 minutes, but i don't feel that was such a bad thing, as with thrillers its all in the build up anyways.
I don't ever consider thrillers to be a DVD purchase, as once you've seen it it has no replay value, but its definitely worth a hit on the netflix que.
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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