le She Was Out,” fellow Oscar winner Kim Basinger’s virtually ignored foray into dark territory, “The New Daughter” proves much better than expected.
Costner is single dad John James, a novelist who moves to a South Carolina farmhouse with his teenage daughter, Louisa (Ivana Baquero, “Pan’s Labyrinth“), and young son, Sam (Gattlin Griffith, “Couples Retreat“). The transition isn’t easy, but worst of all on Louisa, who takes to solitude in the form of lying around on a mound of earth in the woods behind their home. The more she hangs out there, the weirder her behavior starts to become. Why? I’m not telling.
In doling out information on a strict, need-to-know basis, director Luis Berdejo succeeds in building a palpable amount of tension, then enjoys wringing it out of his viewers. (Just ask my tween daughter, who kept asking her father to cover her eyes.) That Berdejo can do so for more of the running time than not makes “The New Daughter” a soft cult classic in the making.
This is as effective of a film as M. Night Shyamalan’s “Signs,” which it most resembles. The story takes turns I did not expect, and the final shot is a chiller. The less you know about it, the better off you’ll be, so go. Rent. See. “Rod Lott