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The New Daughter – Review

There is a new trend in theatrical distribution and I’m not sure if everyone is noticing it. Studios are becoming quite sneaky in trying to release a movie in a theater, under everyone’s radar, with no ad campaign to speak of. You heard me right, no billboards along the freeway, no trailer or TV spots, no word of mouth to get you amped for the film. While most people eventually got wind of the Midnight Meat Train debacle, two other genre friendly titles got the shaft recently. The first being Joel Schumacher’s Blood Creek [Lionsgate again], and the latest to get the boot into a few theaters nationwide is the latest film starring Kevin Costner – The New Daughter.

Recently divorced father John James [Kevin Costner] moves his teenage daughter Louisa [Ivana Baquero] and son Sam [Gattlin Griffith] to the rural town of Mercy, South Carolina for a fresh start. Louisa is not happy about her new surroundings, new school, and new home as she misses her mother. While roaming her backyard, she stumbles upon a huge mound in the ground that resembles an ant hill. After her first visit, she becomes more and more obsessed with the mysterious incline that is taking over her body and soul.

After an altercation with a girl at school and the disappearance of the babysitter, John dials up the internet and finds out this is not the first time something bizarre has happened in his house. Years before – another young girl was chosen as the new queen for an all male race of beings known as “Mound Walkers”, a breed of deity who burrow under the ground and whose very existence depends on John’s newly crowned daughter.

I’ve never been a fan of Kevin Costner, and here is a movie where he has to carry a lot of screen time and emotion, and fails on both big time. That monotone voice and Wrangler jeans look is supposed to make me care about the big lug as he is burdened by the fact he has to take care for his children all by himself. His daughter continues to visit that big piece of dirt and starts acting wacko, sorry buddy, it’s time to get the whip out on that “emo biatch” and show her who’s the boss. Ivana Baquero [Pan's Labyrinth] is cute as a button, but is damn annoying as she whines at every opportunity.

Luckily, the film is not a complete loss as director Luis Berdejo balances the quiet horror well as the story holds back in showing the creatures to the very end. When we do finally see them they are impressive specimens who are black and slimy, have some wicked chompers, and are humanoid in appearance. The New Daughter is based on a short story [by John Connolly] of the same name, and adapted to the screen by John Travis [The Haunting of Molly Hartley], well, these two fellows must be fans of Neil Marshall. The look of the monsters, and the fact that they spend most of their time underground in tunnels, there is no way you can’t help but think of The Descent. That is a noble film to try and imitate, but in the end, this one goes down swinging.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

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Jason Bene

I’m just an average man/ With an average life/ I work from nine to five/ Hey, hell, I pay the price/ All I want is to be left alone/ In my average home/ But why do I always feel/ Like I’m in the twilight zone

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33 Comments

  1. I just finished this movie and, have to say that I am shocked at the reviews I have read. I just wanted to say that the only thing goin down swingin is this guys review! This is one of the best horror movies I have seen, im callin it horror with style!

    Anon Reply:

    I question your taste in horror. True horror is The Audition. That is a masterpiece that freaks you out without using lots of blood. It’ll make you rethink dating, though.

    This is a C movie at best. Sure, nice effects, that’s cool. But the people do the dumbest things. “Hey let’s stay in the haunted chunk of land instead of renting a hotel.” The parallels were too easy to guess and the omens too common. The kid was the only thing that did it for me.

    And what was up with the ending? There’s no hope and we don’t know if the kid survives.

    anonymous Reply:

    if you are talking about the boy i think he was eated
    but the girl was blowded up!!!

    Alissa Reply:

    I’m so sad i hated the ending with the boy]: he didnt do anything to deserve that. If i was the dad i would take the girl to the docters to see if somethings inside her or to find whats wrong.

    Victoria mORA Reply:

    I hate how the cat died…..very sad! :(

    hideka Reply:

    if you watch the girls face closely at the end, she starts mutating into one of the creatures, and the dad starts crying right before he drops the flare. if you remember back when he met the old crazy man, youll understand the signifigance of what the old man said about having to kill his own daughter to save her. and the little boy dies. talk about a F’d up ending lol!

    Kevin Reply:

    I agree. I kinda liked it! Call me weird. And NO I did not work in the production of the movie. I give it a 8 out of 10

  2. It had a strong end but eveything leading up to it was tepid and uninspired.

  3. Shawn probably worked on the ‘film’ in some capacity.

  4. My wife liked it. Halfway through the movie, I wanted all the main characters to die a slow painful death.

  5. Horrible. I already new what was going to happen and i hated the ending, thought it would be better D:

  6. The worst movie ever…it was shitty and a big waste of my life…it sucked fuckin balls

    Alissa Reply:

    I agree

    estong Reply:

    i agree with you! this movie sucks!

    Anonymous Reply:

    I have to agree! Loved the whole movie untill the end!

  7. I’ve seen much worse than THE NEW DAUGHTER.

    Kevin Reply:

    I agree with you Jason… I have seen a lot worse!

    Jason Bene Reply:

    Like Rob Zombie’s two floaters about Michael Myers. lol

  8. Why wouldn’t you take your daughter to the doc as soon as you saw blisters on her neck?

    Why would you trade a double-barrel shotgun for a short pump action that has lower muzzle velocity, less range, and worse accuracy?

    Why would you leave that adorable little boy behind to suffer an unknown fate in order to rescue a rotten teenage daughter who treated you like crap the whole movie?

    … just a few of the things that left me scratching my head in this movie. If the director wanted us to believe that there could exist such a stupid father in the world, then he should have used someone other than Kevin!

  9. I was dissapointed and thought she would for sure be in labor or giving birth when Daddy Costner came to rescue her in the cave. That would have added to the creep out factor. I thought it was a very good and pretty terrifying movie, really well written and I hardly noticed Kevin Costner which is great! I also really loved the cliffhanger ending.

  10. WHAT THE “f” WAS UP WITH THE ENDING??? I HATED IT!!! YOU DON’T
    KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CUTE BOY AND DAD – WHO CARES ABOUT THE
    BITCHY DAUGHTER! BY SLOWLY REWINDING THE ENDING DID ANYONE ELSE
    CATCH THOSE ALIEN THINGS CRAWLING ON THE HOUSE AND TREES IN THE
    BACKGROUND?

    shawn Reply:

    Also, while the little boy is holding the picture-he says “daddy” and you can see the dad walking out of the fire in the reflection of the picture that the boy is holding.

  11. Dumb movie!!! The only thing worse than the ending was the weak ass Father figure. Doesn’t anyone discipline their kids anymore or did that go out of style in 1989 ?

  12. The monsters reminded me of something out of a Lady Gaga video (bad romance to be exact) but I overall enjoyed this film. Ending would have been been if he left her in the house when she said she wanted to stay. Won’t have me looking in my closet, will make me never name my daughter Louisa (didn’t plan on it anyway).

  13. I would have never guessed that this little film would get so much debate. Interesting.

  14. You cant see if the reflection in the final scene is the father or the wounded daughter or some other wounded creature. Some people say you hear him load his gun at the end but it could just as easily be the creature in the background moving.

    DID ANYONE ELSE NOTE THE SIMILARITIES TO FAERIE TALE?

  15. wow. where to begin.
    although the effects and sounds were pretty convincing, they couldnt do anything to help the weak and predictable plot.

    could someone explain the ending for me? yes i saw the figure in the glass and yes i heard A sound. but i also saw the mutant things behind the little boy. that sound just as easily been a twig brek (as we heard throughout the film) as it couldve been the loading of a shotgun. and another question. How could being any living being possibly survive the explosion of a 50 gallon gasoline drum?

    anyway, i was very unimpressed throughout and the ending definitely ruined whatever it was that kept me watching til the end

  16. The movie was absolutely amazing except for the end. Was the dad alive? Did Sam get eaten by the mound walkers? And why didnt we get to see Louisa turn into one of them? All they gave us was the white eyes. Incredibly disappointed by the end. Needs an alternative ending or a sequel. GRRRRRRRRRR

  17. I was heartbroken for the cute little boy. I just don’t get it. Yes you love both your kids but he seemed like he didn’t think about any sort of plan. He didn’t seemed too concerned about what was really happening till it was too late. I am very peeved about this movie and it made me bummed. The whole movie seemed unbalanced.

  18. You guys are all fucked. Kevin Costners name should be Kevin ‘Bossner’

  19. I liked the movie… dislike the ending because I wanted to know what happened to the little boy

  20. i would disagree with your rieviw not entirly but in oppisite, yes Kos carry emotion very well wearing his out of date “tryna be a cool dad” look in wranglers and all that, and his daughter is a winey little fag, but most daughters at that age are. im glad she pushed that bitch down the stairs altho not shown… like u say i never seen an ad, billboard etc. i never had any idea what to expect but enjoyed the first half quite nice and quiet n then BAM! wierd ass creepy folk from underground mounds and a teen daughter goin wierd n shit… i thought i was watching a diffrent movie. not the best movie ive seen but it wasnt bad… the ending sucked balls! big ol’ off screen explosion left with a 50-50 cliff hanger of a shadowed figure in the picture walking toward his son then an offshot mound-man behind him. its like a kick in the balls. just like the end of inception with a shorter waiting period.

  21. Liked the movie, hated the ending