[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=4290&w=o[/img]Title: The New Daughter
Starring: Kevin Costner, Ivana Baquero, Samantha Mathis, Gattlin Griffith
Directed by: Luis Berdejo
Written by: John Travis, John Connolly
Studio: Anchor Bay Films
Runtime: 147 Minutes
Release Date: 6/1/2010
When his wife leaves him for another man, author John James (Costner) moves, with his two children, to an isolated house in rural South Carolina. John’s daughter Louisa (Baquero) is immediately identified as the moody, troubled teen with whom John must reconnect and his son Sam (Griffith) is the scared younger brother. While working on his novel, John is alerted to a problem in another room by Louisa's call for help. When he enters the room, John discovers Sam holding a shotgun that he found in the cavity of an old piano that came with the house. After retrieving the gun from Sam, John disassembles the weapon and buries it next to a tree outside.
The next day we are introduced to Cassandra Parker (Mathis), Sam’s new teacher, when John drops off the children on their first day at the new school. Later in the day, while exploring the property, the family stumbles upon a giant mound to which Louisa is immediately drawn and Sam is too scared to even climb on. It is apparent to the viewer that something isn’t right about this place. As her trips to the mound begin to get more frequent, Louisa starts to exhibit an increasingly odd and hostile behavior toward John who is convinced that his daughter is merely starting to show the signs of puberty but when suspicious markings start to appear on her neck, John starts to question the surrounding areas.
As he opens his own investigation into the history of the new family home, John learns that the mound is actually an old Native American burial mound. Now convinced that something evil is happening on the grounds, John must take action or risk losing his family to the entity that is already starting to take over his daughter.
I found The New Daughter to be an intriguing premise that could have been better executed. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the movie, only that it could have been much better in the hands of a more seasoned director. My biggest problem with the story was the time it took getting to the film’s crescendo. Once it finally reached the final act the movie kicked into a higher gear and stayed there until the end which was a nice but came up a little short for having to sit through the first two acts. Unfortunately, this also made the movie feel very uneven and somewhat rushed at the end.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=4295&w=o[/img]I found that the performances in The New Daughter were fair; Kevin Costner is, well, Kevin Costner and the rest of the cast also put in watchable portrayals with Ivana Bequero playing a very convincing troubled teen in Louisa James. If there was one thing that I really enjoyed about the movie, I would have to say that it was the cinematography and the sound design. The opening credit sequence really captures some outstanding images of the landscape of South Carolina and throughout the movie there are occasional shots that really standout from the rest of the film. It really gives a great presence to the film that anyone from a southern coastal will relate to as the morning fog and dew can almost be felt.
Additionally, the sound design was amazingly well crafted and really captures many of the sounds that are inherent with that type of environment. Locusts, crickets and many other types of insects and atmospheric noises come to life and are very realistically reproduced. At one point I had to mute the audio to confirm that it was the movie and not a typical summer night at home that I was hearing.
Rated PG-13 for thematic material including violence, disturbing images and brief strong language.
The New Daughter is encoded with a 1080p VC-1 video transfer with an average 23 mbps bitrate. Unfortunately the video presentation was sort of a mixed bag. While the opening credits cinematography was outstanding, the video itself was not as good as I thought it should have been. There is also a large amount of black crush throughout the movie as many of the scenes were shot at night with plenty of shadows that are not very well defined. At times the problem seemed inherent to the filming process and at other times seemed more like a fault of the video transfer. Colors were reproduced very accurately and flesh tones were natural looking but the overall transfer lacked the type of detail that we have come to expect from Bluray.
The audio on the other hand really helped make this viewing a lot more engaging than it otherwise would have been. The lossless PCM 5.1 surround sound, which has to be selected from the main settings menu, is engaging in very subtle and unexpected ways. There is some great surround activity throughout the movie with creatures, thunderstorms, insects, creeks and moans and the LFE comes to life eerily in several scenes as the designers used it in a very effective and haunting way instead of just blasting it out in typical Hollywood fashion. As I said earlier in the review, the sound design was very well implemented throughout this film and really does a lot to rescue it from being just another typical horror movie.
Audio commentary by Director Luis Berdejo
(HD) Theatrical trailer
The New Daughter Behind-the-scenes
(HD) Theatrical trailer
The New Daughter Behind-the-scenes
Overall I enjoyed The New Daughter for what it was, a supernatural/monster movie. It was fairly slow to start but really comes to life in the final act. My recommendation is an ‘RDR’ (Rainy Day Rental) for when you find yourself flipping through the drivel that is found on most TV channels. It is also the type of story that once you see it, you will most likely never watch again so a buy just doesn't seem worth it. I thought it was a good effort and really does try its best to step outside the typical hack and slash found in most of today’s typical horror/thriller releases but in the end it is unfortunately weighed down by too much uneccessary pieces and not enough payoff. Until next time campers, have a good day and in case I don't see ya later, a good afternoon, a good evening, and a good night! :wave: