Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The New Daughter

The New Daughter 2009
Director: Luis Berdejo
Writer: John Travis
Starring Kevin Costner, Samantha Mathis, Ivana Baquero, Gattlin Griffith, Noah Taylor, James Gammon and Sandra Ellis Lafferty
When you think horror films you do not really think Kevin Costner but after seeing Mr. Brooks which really surprised me I thought I would give this film a try. The things I heard about it were good like Costner with a shotgun shooting monsters. The only problem with this film it is a very slow burn and takes awhile before anything eerie happens. It does have a great sense of dread throughout though and reminded me a lot of the Shining mixed with Blair Witch Project. The story is very suspenseful and the cast is good. Costner gives a great performance of a single dad who really seems out of his element. A lot of times he just seems befuddled which really helps the story along. This is a old style horror film and it goes through its paces well. This is a film that gives you a sense of something not quite right and it really delivers.
The plot basics are this, John James (Costner) is a single father who recently went through a mess divorce and now has custody of his two children Sam (Griffith) and Louisa (Baquero). He moves to a isolated house off a dirt road in North Carolina with them and notices the house has a strange mound on the property. He soon discovers that it is a ancient Indain burial ground. Soon he hears strange noises at night and the family cat goes missing and then is found mangled and dead. His daughter seems to become affected by the mound and starts becoming a different person. He finds out the previous owner had a issue with his daughter and he ended up burning her alive because she became possessed with evil spirits. John is determined to save his daughter and will go to any means to save her and his family.
This is a tense and suspenseful film. The direction by Bardejo is quite taut. The build up to when you first see the creatures is slow but he makes it work and the viewer definitely wants to stick around to see what arises. The climax underneath the mound is tense and scary and keeps the viewer riveted. The script is tight as well, though it is a little leisurely in setting up the conflict it is still well worth enduring. The cast is excellent. Costner does a excellent job as the haggard father who has no clue what is happening to his daughter. Baquero is great as the resentful daughter who begins to experience personality changes and you really feel for her. Mathis has a thankless supporting role and does what she can with it. Griffith as Sam does a good job and is not annoying like most child actors are. The SFX and make up effects are minimal but done very well. The score by Javier Navarrete is eerie and solemn and really suits the tone of the film and it really keeps the viewer off center with what is happening. This is a eerie and haunting film and well worth seeing if you want a different horror film than the usual ilk that is out there.
This one gets 3 out of 5

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