The New Daughter 2009 Movie Scene Kevin Costner as John James holding a shotgun in front of his daughter Ivana Baquero as Louisa

The New Daughter [2009]

If you have nothing better to do, I guess this predictable and barely mediocre movie will do. Moreover, I find these movies quite relaxing. You lower your expectations and that turns out to be the right decision. You don’t have to think or talk about them, they just exist. The New Daughter is a supernatural thriller bordering on a horror about a family who, after a move to a creepy old house, starts experiencing strange things. To be more precise, Kevin Costner plays a divorced dad who moves into that house with his two kids. I don’t know if that’s a twist or what but at least there won’t be a romantic subplot.

Now, that old creepy house is right next to an old Indian burial ground and I guess that’s all you need to know about the plot. The whole movie has that Stephen King vibe. Just think of it as a cross between Tommyknockers, Pet Sematary and Poltergeist. I don’t know what was up with Costner but he looked like he smoked a big ass joint and then just reluctantly went through the motions. At least Ivana Baquero was on her game. You might remember her as Ofelia from del Toro’s masterpiece Pan’s Labyrinth. However, you surely don’t remember her from Fragile where she’s let’s say not quite herself.

One of the main reasons why The New Daughter is worth watching is the atmosphere. It slowly but surely becomes creepier and creepier as time goes on. And, if you’re willing to suspend your belief a bit, you will be swept up in it completely by the time the final third kicks off. On that note, I have to say that the ending was also excellent and quite surprising. Especially for a movie so riddled with cliches. Additionally, we see our first glimpses that something is horrifically wrong not ten minutes in. So, the director wastes no time telling us that this is going to be one of “those” horror movies.

I just wish we got more of that juicy scary stuff. Only in the final fifteen minutes does the evil rear its ugly head. And it is an exceedingly ugly and despicable head. Once that happens, the movie becomes intense and even disturbing. Each scene was better than the last and, like I said, I just wish we got to this part sooner. Something that comes as a surprise when you consider the fact that the director is Luis Berdejo, the same guy who wrote Rec. And that movie is freaking terrifying from moment one, sustaining suspense and offering scares throughout its short runtime.

Finally, I see that these Things We Learned From lists are quite popular, so let me take a stab at them. Just know that there will be major spoilers here. So, here’s the list of Things We Learned From The New Daughter:

  • It’s more than alright to break into someone else’s home and look through their things. That is as long as they don’t catch you doing so.
  • Letting my children “explore” an unknown area while I sleep in a chair, IS a good idea.
  • Don’t worry about telling the children to be home before it gets dark unless they’ve already done it a few times.
  • If you’re a cop and believe that you just hit someone or something with your car and are in that car with a potential suspect, just hang out the window instead of checking to see if you just hit one of the children that live on that property.
  • If you are said cop and a flesh-eating zombie grabs hold of you, don’t worry about ever reaching for your gun. Maybe he’ll just decide he’s not that hungry after all.
  • When there are flesh-eating zombies breaking into your house and you have to go look for your child, just leave the other child in a little blanket tent even though there’s a door in (at least) one room that leads to the inside of the walls. Because you know, zombies (or whatever the heck they were) can’t get through blankets.
  • Dads aren’t as good at parenting as “slut” moms.
  • When the ugliest girl in school tells me I’m in her seat I should apologize right away and move as quickly as I can.
  • Leaving my children with someone I’ve never met is alright as long as someone I hardly know recommended them.
  • All 200-year-old ladies are great babysitters so we should trust them.
  • Bring more ammo than just a handful when rescuing your child!!!!
  • If your daughter isn’t normal, hell, burn the house down.

Director: Luis Berdejo

Writers: John TravisJohn Connolly

Cast: Kevin Costner, Ivana Baquero, Gattlin Griffith, Samantha Mathis, Noah Taylor

Fun Stuff: The movie is based not a novel but a horror anthology “Nocturnes” by John Connolly.


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