Movie review: 'The Blackcoat's Daughter'

Brad Keefe

“The Blackcoat's Daughter” may not be everyone's kind of horror movie, but it sure is mine: unsettling, atmospheric and stylish as all hell.

The track record of distributor A24 Films is enough to pique my interest. The company has made a few missteps, but it's also released more movies on my year-end lists than any production house in the last five years.

This one will likely fly under the radar and won't match the success of last year's “The Witch,” but don't sleep on it. You might not sleep after it.

This is definitely a movie where the less you know, the better. It opens in a New England boarding school. As students leave for break, Kat (Kiernan Shipka, aka Sally Draper from “Mad Men”) and Rose (Lucy Boynton) are still waiting for their parents to pick them up, so they stay behind in the mostly empty school with a few staff members.

Let's let the rest be a surprise. Just know that writer-director Oz Perkins shows a deft hand in creating the kind of slow, creeping tension I want from my scary movies.

Perkins is also not going to hand-hold his audience, so if you need a simple plot, this may not be your jam. I see a pretty clear David Lynch influence, particularly “Mulholland Drive,” but it is the kind of movie where sometimes you will not know what the hell is going on — in the best possible way.

“Blackcoat's Daughter” also has amazing cinematography and a perfectly haunting score to set the mood. The direction the story takes may not be satisfying for everyone, but I'm already looking forward to a second viewing to see how all the pieces hold up.

“The Blackcoat's Daughter”

Opens Friday at the Gateway Film Center

4 stars out of 5