Directed by Luis Berdejo
Starring: Kevin Costner, Samantha Mathis, Ivana Baquero, Gattlin Griffith
“History is merely a list of surprises. It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again.”
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
My feelings about Kevin Costner are very mixed. A Perfect World Kevin Costner: good. Message in a Bottle, Bull Durham, Rumor Has It Kevin Costner: bad, very bad. But, I could be surprised with this movie, right? That thought inspired the above quote. So, how do I feel about The New Daughter?
John James (Kevin Costner) is a writer suffering from a major case of writers block. Before he pulls a “Jack Torrance” (The Shining), he decides to move with his daughter Louisa (Ivana Baquero) and his son Sam (Gattlin Griffith) to a remote house in South Carolina.
This big life change couldn’t come at a worse time. John is struggling to understand his mercurial teenage daughter. He can’t seem to make heads or tails of her behavior and reaches out to a schoolteacher (Samantha Mathis) to give him some guidance.
Louisa behavior takes a turn for the even more bizarre when it seems like she is constantly drawn, mentally and physically, to a big dirt mound on the property. Yes, readers, you read that right. And, if Louisa wasn’t already problematic, this dirt mounds seems to make her even harder to understand and more “Sylvia Plath” like…..not a good situation.
It isn’t long before John learns through research that there are several mysterious deaths of local inhabitants, animals too. What is behind all of this? Could it be that darned creepy dirt mound that he can’t get his kid away from? It is all similar to a Stephen King book and it is messing with John’s head in a big way.
Despite starring Kevin Costner and being directed by Luis Berdejo, who co-wrote the well reviewed Spanish film Rec, the studio gave this film a very limited theater run, no promotion and then it disappeared until it turns up now on DVD.
The New Daughter is surprising skillful and entertaining. Perhaps the studio realized that while it contains horror and suspense elements, it isn’t going to be gory or scary enough for a straight up horror crowd. And, those wanting to see Costner being all slick and charming aren’t going to enjoy him in such a dark film. So, they just sort of shelved it.
There are some nice moments of creepiness thanks to some weird creatures and strange behavior on the part of Louisa that will satisfy the horror fans out there. So, there are enough jumps and shocks to satiate those looking for that in this film.
How does Costner handle all of this? Pretty well. He seems just a bit out of his comfort zone, but he handles it well. He is a pro, whether you are big fan of his or not. Even if this isn’t his typical film, he is going to handle the material better than a novice.
So, if you call yourself a hard core horror/gore fanatic, this film isn’t going to cut it for you. But, if like your horror and suspense a bit on the light side, you are going to enjoy this. At least put it on your Netflix queue.
The New Daughter is presented in widescreen. The overall transfer is decent and the black levels are respectable. The color palette is vibrant and I did not notice any instances of grain or artifacts.
The New Daughter is presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital. The dialogue is crystal clear and well mixed with the ambient sound. This is a solid presentation that compliments the transfer of the film well.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The New Daughter is presented in a amaray case with a bit of a generic picture on the cover so it is hard to tell what type of film it is from just the cover. Costner does have a gun and it does seem a bit dark and creepy. But it still strikes me as a bit generic.
A few bonus features await your perusal on this release. First up, commentary with director Luis Berdejo letting you know the ins and outs of the production of this film.
Behind the Scenes of The New Daughter is entertaining if a bit standard. And rounding things out, the theatrical trailer.
Overall (Not an Average) 6.5/10
The Movie 6/10
The Video 7/10
The Audio 7/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 6/10
Overall (not an average) 6.5/10