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[Review] ‘February’ is a Brooding Horror Masterpiece (‘The Blackcoat’s Daughter’)

The Blackcoat's Daughter (FEBRUARY) via A24

Satan’s presence is strong at the Toronto International Film Festival, but only one film has left me worshipping him.

Hyped with an outstanding trailer and shocking clip (both of which I suggest avoiding for spoilers), Osgood Perkins’ February (retitled to The Blackcoat’s Daughter for the release) not only lives up to the expectations, but exceeds them.

While the chilling performances of “American Horror Story’s” Emma Roberts and “Mad Men’s” Kiernan Shipka catapult the film into masterpiece status (yes, I went there), it’s Perkins’ writing and directing that stands out.

February is a brooding horror film that requires a viewer with extreme patience, not that Perkins’ film isn’t brimming with suspenseful sequences. Kat (Shipka) has nightmares/visions of her parents’ death, waking up in a cold sweat. She’s marking down the days to her prep school’s winter break, only her parents fail to show to pick her up. Same for Rose (Lucy Boynton), who tricked her parents into coming later to deal with the fact that she’s become pregnant. All the while, a side story develops with Joan (Roberts), who is being driven to an undisclosed location by “Dexter’s” James Remar and his wife, who are off to visit the grave of their daughter.

It’s pretty clear from the start these stories are going to collide, but it’s insignificant to the experience. February is a master-craft in building tension and suspense through rich characters and stunning frightening imagery.

But what I truly loved about February is that the Devil – so to speak – is presented on such a basic and instinctual level. There’s no real reference to him; there’s no characters acting as devices to explain it all, nor is there a nefarious antagonist laughing maniacally when he/she gets the upper hand. What you get is a raw interpretation of what it could be like to become possessed by evil and the feeling of extreme isolation. It all ties together, has deep meaning, and is significant in its ability to connect on an emotional level to so many of us.

February isn’t a game-changer, nor is it going to cause horror fans to erupt in applause (probably why it’s not part of TIFF’s Midnight Madness program), but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s one of the best possession films ever. Fans of slow-burn horror are rewarded for their patience as what thaws out is going to shock the living Hell out of them.



COMMENTS

31 Comments
  • Any word on a release date?

    • Grimphantom

      Would be ironic that they release it on February =P

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    I hope this film is half as good as you say. Are you sure your not pulling our legs? Is this film REALLY that good? Come on, you can be honest with me, did you get any goodies for the positive review?

    • I guarantee you that we do not receive any perks or compensations for our reviews. You have my word.

      • Full Frontal Throttle

        I’m giving you a hard time. I am really looking forward to this. I am hoping you are right about it….

        • I personally haven’t seen it and I’ll fully admit that Brad and I don’t see eye-to-eye on every title. However, he always makes a good point if you ask him and he’s turned me around on a few titles.

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  • Shit

    im down

  • I hate that this is getting such great reviews this week, only because now I can imagine more people at Fantastic Fest will put this high on their queue and it will be more difficult to see on opening night! Whatever it takes, gonna make it happen though.

  • zombie84_41

    hope its as good as you say it is sometimes you can be a bit iffy with your reviews. Mockingbird is a prime example you had so much love for that movie and it was such a boring pretentious POS.

  • Calavera Sonriente

    I’m glad to read such a positive review about a movie I’m looking forward to. Slow burn approaches in horror are just the best ones for possession and occult themes. Also, EMMA ROBERTS!! 🙂

  • Taboo

    want to see this

  • 75dollars

    As usual with BD reviews, this is probably going to be worth half that rating.

  • carntankerous

    This is a creepy, slow-burning chunk of dread. I loved it. If you don’t have the patience for this kind of thing, you might not. But I agree with this review, for the most part.
    The audience I was a part of at TIFF seemed pretty slammed by it.

  • Flyingguillotine

    I got a hold of this script back in the day, and it was — and still is — one of the best horror specs I’ve ever read. Very strong writing, great characters, nice sense of dread.

  • Queef McGee

    This looks like an instant classic. House of the Devil aesthetics with an amazing cast!

  • Chad Langen

    Another over-hyped flick on BD that will end up mediocre. Not getting my hopes up.

  • TheonetrueLee

    Sounds great. Can’t wait to see this.

  • Halloween_Vic

    cool.

  • abyx34

    meh, the trailer is boring, and the blonde actress is annoying.

  • Mel

    Having caught the final screening of February at TIFF on Friday night, I couldn’t disagree more with this review. To me this movie felt like a pretentious rip-off of far better possession movies. At some moments the dialogue was so unintentionally cringeworthy, that the whole theatre erupted into laughter- totally ruining whatever tone Oz Perkins had effectively established.

    Too bad, I had such high hopes- Kiernan Shipka did great with what she was given.

  • Sixtus Dane Ramos

    Any ideas when will this be released in BluRay?

  • JeffCStevenson

    Just saw it and loved. Well done, Oz!

  • Blake

    Saw this movie last night. Absolutely loved it.

    It’s definitely not re-writing the genre (or the sub-genre for that matter), and it’s fairly predictable, but the consistently eerie and ominous feel had me enthralled until the end.

  • CarrieLynn D. Reinhard

    I am working on a book about exorcism movies, and I am looking for verification about whether or not an exorcism does occur in the movie.

    • Beth Younger

      Yes, there is an exorcism.

  • nbk6ugg

    no kidding. this was just not good. in no way was this worth…well…anything.

  • Beth Younger

    Seriously, TBD is a stunningly beautiful and extremely creepy film. It’s brilliant.

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