The New Daughter (2009)

DECEMBER 22, 2009

GENRE: MONSTER, SUPERNATURAL
SOURCE: THEATRICAL (REGULAR SCREENING)

Like Bruce Willis and Chevy Chase, one actor that gets my undying support is Kevin Costner. While I let a few of them pass me by (such as Rumor Has It), I do my best to see all of his films in theaters, which is why I am one of the maybe 17 people in the world who went to see 3000 Miles To Graceland. So when I heard about The New Daughter, I was pretty excited - Costner in a straight up horror movie? Mr. Brooks was a straight up thriller until its final 10 minutes, but this sounded like a full blown killer kid movie. Hell yes!

So it’s a shame that the film was completely dumped onto a handful of screens (sans advertisements or even an official announcement of its release) and that I had to drive down to the not-very-great Regency Fairfax in LA to see it (it pained me to drive by the New Bev without stopping in!). Granted, it was better than having to drive to Norwalk (as I did for Blood Creek), but still - Costner deserves better. Hell, Swing Vote aside, his last few movies have actually done pretty good compared to the wasteland of his late 90s/early 00s output, so maybe the public was finally ready to accept him again. We will never know.

Sadder still, it’s actually a pretty good movie. It’s sort of like a cross between Signs and The Descent, and the killer kid type moments are actually misleading - this is actually a monster movie (this is actually sort of a spoiler as the monsters don’t show up until the final 20 minutes, but whatever - who is going to see this damn thing until DVD, where the monsters will probably be on the cover anyway?). Costner and his two kids move into this new house (he’s - sigh - a writer hoping the quiet will help him pen his next novel. Luckily this plot point is mentioned once and never again) and they find this odd mound in the backyard. The son is afraid of it, and the daughter is seemingly drawn to it. Soon she’s acting weird, and the son is becoming more and more spooked out, and Costner... well, Costner just does his thing. He’s in everyman mode here (always a better fit for him than his more showy characters - i.e. Robin Hood), so that’s good, but even though he is in pretty much every frame of the movie, his character isn’t really given much to do beyond constantly fiddle with his glasses. It’s more a showcase for Ivana Baquero (Pan’s Labyrinth), who has the unenviable job of playing an unlikable character who the audience needs to think is the villain (without her doing anything blatantly evil).

But it’s a monster movie with Kevin Costner! He fucking shotguns one in the face! It’s like when Stallone made that slasher movie (Eye See You, aka D-Tox) - he’s just not the type of guy you expect to see in one of these things. And that it’s a monster movie in disguise made me happy; I was actually weary of seeing another killer kid movie (in fact, the vagueness of it made me momentarily suspect we were in for a Hide and Seek retread, and that she was being weird because she knew her dad was a murderer). You go in expecting a little kid knocking her grandmother down the stairs or maybe slashing her father’s Achilles tendon, and instead you get a scene where an Oscar winning former Sexiest Man Alive is chased by a cave monster. Not a bad deal at all.

It’s also got its fair share of decent suspense and off kilter moments. Early on, the kid finds a shotgun hidden in the house, and (innocently) begins pointing it at people as Costner tries to convince him to put it down. And even though it’s not supposed to be funny, a scene where Costner uses the internet to try to figure out what’s going in with his daughter is wonderfully goofy, thanks to both the ridiculous fake search engine (“Root Around”) as well as some of his inane search terms (“Daughter, hormones” “Bad father”). Costner also seems to have a phone in every room in the house, and thus never uses the same one twice.

Also, without spoiling anything, this movie has the ballsiest ending I’ve seen in quite a while. Even Orphan wasn’t this grim. Maybe that is why the film got the fate that it did, but director Luis Berdejo (who co-wrote [Rec]) and writer John Travis (working from a short story by John Connolly) get my full respect for ending the film as they do, despite what I’m sure was pressure by one of the numerous studios slated to release this film to change it (that list, for the record, is New Line, Universal, and Tri-Star; the actual distribution is courtesy of Anchor Bay). Nice work.

Including me, there were a total of 6 people in the theater for this nighttime screening of a movie that has been out for 4 days at the only theater in the city playing it (I'm also aware of the irony that pretty much everyone in the world was buying tickets for a ripoff of Costner's Dances With Wolves). Thus, I’m guessing it won’t be a surprise success (not that we’d be able to tell - Anchor Bay neglected to report its grosses). But that means that the film will hit DVD soon, and Costner’s name should generate some interest (“Hey, I don’t remember saying that I would wait for DVD to see this one, now I’m even more intrigued!”). And as it is a small film that focuses on atmosphere for most of its running time (even the climax is far from an all-out monster/gore fest), it will likely play better at home anyway. Still, it deserves better. Someone give Costner a meaty supporting role in a big Oscar bait-y type movie and help get his career back on track!

What say you?

HorrorBlips: vote it up!

34 comments:

  1. not a costner fan at all, only really lk graceland, field of dreams and bull durham but this dont sound half bad

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  2. I think I'll give this one a miss. You can tell that this might turn out to be another, 'The Unborn'. Like at 20% on rotten tomatoes type thing.

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  3. This is no "Unborn". It is based on a short story by my favorite horror/thriller writer - John Connoly. If you like serial killer stuff check out his Charlie Parker series that starts with Every Dead Thing - GOOOOOD Stuff!

    Dirk

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  4. Nice to see someone supporting Kevin Costner. I think he's one of the greats. Talented, intelligent, sexy, an exceptional athlete, and a great human being. I admire his courage to make the movies he believes in, the stories he wants to help tell and bring to light, without chasing ratings or the "almighty" dollar. Wish there were more like him in Hollywood. ~Diane

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  5. Just saw this movie. Damn that ending! I wanna see more now! But there isn't a sequel :D

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  6. The movie was awesome! I love the way you don't find out what's really going on till the end like Signs was. But the ending leaves you hanging so much! It makes you think there's gonna be a sequel because there's so much left unknown!

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    1. it is indeed a great movie, i just dont like the ending coz i want to know who came walking towards the boy and who was at the back of him... Hope they made a part2? Dont like the ending its so unfinish... I love all kevin's movies.

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  7. ok...the ending sucks to the nth power!

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  8. Just saw this movie..love kevin costner. Robin hood ,dances with wolves,field of dreams,dragonfly,bill durham,mr brooks,untouchables. All these movies are GREAT! Which is why I was dissapointed with this movie,the movie was creepy n good right up to about 20 minutes at the end. One shot to take out these so called monsters?and the ending was very anti climactic. Kevin has done some great movies. This is not one of em. Love ya kevin,u just need one good script. And you'll be back on the big screen,as one of the greatest actors of all time!

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  9. the creature crawls past her window the first night they sleep in the house pay attention people.... wtwhferock@aol.com

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  10. HUGE kevin costner fan....liked the movie...he is a great dad and kicked some ass....but the ending???...i thought for sure that was him walking back....i want the new daughter 2

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  11. only thing about the ending is that in the picture it looks like kevin(it has a jacket and pants and filled out body) not a monster(which has no clothes and skinny as shit) i think kevin was walking back and the monsters were trying to get the boy now, and wtf about the police that came u see the lights pull up behind sam the little boy at the end but the cops dnt come out. There ahs to b a sequel there is just to much left unknown

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  12. I cant believe this ending.. I did not understand.. If you look in the picture there is a image Not sure if it was the monster or Kevin Costner coming back.. Well the daughter is long gone you know..being monster and everything.. Yep we might get a sequel Or should but it might be awhile.. Much to be Found out about the movie.. WOW.. I was so upset at the end.. SO so Upset..WHy did they do this???????

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  13. The ending when the dad's REAL daughter turns to a creature that's the horrible part because the dad goes in the cave to get her then he lays her on grass or whatever and then a creature comes then shows hands to her then she turns to a creature so the dad killed her.

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  14. The ending is horrible because the REAL daughter is inside a hole half dead and the dad goes in there to save her, but the creatures live there and he leaves the boy in the house in a tent ALONE! So when the dad finds his REAL daughter he lays her on a pile of dirt or somethin then a creature is there then he show his hands to her then she turn to a crteature too! It's so sad and so horrible.

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  15. did anyone else pick up on the shot of the monster near the start when she is looking out the window at night and the monster is climbing along the roof. haha i was not expecting it, it was kinda freaky :P

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  16. Monster on roof early in movie, Ditto... stupid cop leans out patrol car window to fix broken spot, I did say STUPID! I mean, why not pin a sign on him... 'dead cop'. Same with Baby Sitter... "dead" find body in first digging of mound and of course 'cop' proves he'll be stupid later by suspecting Costner. And lastly, the ending? Yellow or light upper body color/clothing. Seemed like Costner but MOST definitely Sam seemed doomed/dead 'cuz that was a nasty boy sneaking up behind him. Not sure why he had the family picture? Could it be that he'd 'swiftly turn' and slice the monster to pieces (after all, Sam did say something like, "Time to grow up and stop being a baby" before he went out?? A four out of ten...

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  17. My, my, my...don't know what to say about the ending. I enjoyed the movie and I detest Kevin Costner. I thought he was really good in this one! Pretty crazy that I watch the movie..and the ending was sooo strange, that the first thing I did was search the internet to see what others had said. I too believe that it was Costner coming away from the fire, but I did see one of those "creatures" on the tree behind the son. I sooo need to see the sequel to finish it off. I rewound the ending about 8 times trying to see if I missed something. I did not see the cops drive up as some people posted. Maybe I was too distracted by the thing in the tree?!!?? I would rate this at 8 out of 10. To each their own...I liked it !

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  18. As much as it was suspenseful, the mound mystery was somewhat interesting, the girl who played Louisa is a good actress, but overall the ending just destroyed the entire movie. I know that as reviewers, we are supposed to think of our own ending, but then again, it doesn't make any sense. Does that mean, do i need to look at the ending more than 1 time. Not only that, but the script was horrible, and my parents even thought it was just stupid for a director to do that(they're grown up, and it's our first time seeing). There were certain parts that I thought were unsatisfying, but the ending is what why I don't want to see it again.

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  19. Just saw the movie only cuz Kevin Costner was in it. I think it's a movie that you only watch once. I hated the ending! Very confusing. Thought Sam was safe cuz they showed headlights behind him like the cops finally showed up. Nope not at all. Then I thought the dad was walking towards the boy and on the side of Sam was another monster. I was so like omg what's gonna happen........End Credits......Hate endings that keep u guessing!!! :(

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  20. It's disappointing to see all these comments disparaging the ending, which I thought was awesome. People, do you really need everything spelled out for you? Costner is coming toward the boy (reflected in the picture) while we see at least 2 of the creatures behind the kid. Imagine what happens next for yourselves.

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  21. I watched this movie only because I thought Kevin Costner starred in good movies. The creatures looked like cheap halloween costumes. Can't say anything good about the ending. I kept running it back thinking I blinked and missed something. If they choose to make a part II, I can't see it making any money and I doubt Costner (unless he's on the brink of bankruptcy)would sign in for the sequel. All I can really add is I wish I had the 1:45 hrs. I wasted watching this added back to my life ;-(

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  22. This is Dan, I just watched the movie I'm with most of you good movie terrible ending first thing I do I go online and search for others thoughts especially about the end. If that was Kevin in that picture why wasn't that boy smiling?! I sures hell would be smiling ear to ear seeing my dad. WTF happen to that shotgun? I noticed that one of those fucks got Kevin's back. I don't want a sequel I just want my time back.

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  23. I believe that it was his dad but the kid was too far away from him so he wasn't certain if it was him Or not. And I think the boy died. And I didn't see any cops

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  24. the end part sucks big time, all i can say is... I want a part 2 coz atleast we will see how it end like really.... I saw no cops at the back of the boy and it look like costner in the reflection of the family photo carrying the daughter with that horrible sound of the thing. So this movie is really unfinish...

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  25. keep geussing lol...

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  26. I really enjoyed this film, it was creepy as hell,especially on the roof at the start.Im not easily impressed with Horror films but this impressed me.10/10

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  27. This is my take on the ending.

    The boy wouldn't say "daddy" for no reason. He thinks it's his dad he's just not sure because he obviously thinks he died int he blast and it's very dark. You hear a shotgun cock in the background as the monster approaches the kid from behind. I can only assume that his dad (who's badly injured from the blast) comes back to try to protect his son.

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  28. i didnt like the ending either. i think the dad became one of the monsters cuz the image that appeared on the picture was sort of limping(like the creatures) and was freaky. i think they got the boy.

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  29. The father; terribly injured from the blast, quickly gathers his wits and looks through the darkness to notice the reflection of the crackling fire in the picture frame his boy is holding. He realizes that his son is in trouble because the lights of the police cars have faded out since the policemen have been eaten by these ancient evil monsters, so he quickly reloaded his weapon and picks up speed. He aims the barrel of his gun at the gaping trench of a mouth of the creature at the left of his son and makes him eat it. He has one bullet left and turns the barrel right to unload a final and lethal blow into the head of the last monster. Sam runs to embrace his father and they get in the car and drive to the nearest hospital. Three months later, he has the house and the mound of Asher bulldozer over. He and Sam continue normal and productive lives destroying mounds throughout the world. A legacy which Sam's children continue.

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  30. Basically the ending is supposed to be left to ur imagination on what happens next and I HATE endings like that! As far as the movie goes though,it was good and a tear jerker as Costner is saying goodbye to his son for maybe the last time. Yes I to saw the monster on the roof as the girl was looking out the window. What surprised me was the fact that there was more then one which u don't realize until the end. With those monsters sneaking up behind the boy he appears doomed but then u have to decide if that's Costner or a monster coming out of the fire..and then at the end u again decide if it was his shotgun reloading or the growl of the monster. Overall the movie is 6 out of 10 but could of easily been a 7 or 8 if the ending was solved

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  31. The creatures awfully reminde me of Midnight
    Meat Train

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  32. I find a movie via some local TV channel which broadcasting it few days ago. I saw that it has something i like so i downloaded it. Fisnijed watching few hours ago. Film is not bad practically, not low budget one, but have strange end and many unexplained situations. I like movies where there was more researches about "why that is happening" and causes of this. Btw, great blog and i found it via google search for "root around search engine" lol! to be honest i thought it is real, you know, maybe some new search engine want to be popular. :-) Greetings!

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  33. Same here :=) I found it interesting to watch but the end part was really low.. ! Supernatural creatures etc...turned it almost into a children's movie...
    anyway I wrote this just to say I got into the same trap! I thought "Root around" is a real search engine that had paid for get hits. So I searched for Rootraound.com and "Root around search engine" and got to this blog, only to find out it was a fake! :=) Gottme there...

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