The Blackcoat's Daughter

Stylish and very adult demon-possession drama set at a Catholic boarding school in the dead of winter. There an old-fashioned fiend, complete with two horns, inhabits a glowing basement coal furnace and uses a hallway pay phone to command a gloomy freshman (Kiernan Shipka) to carry out murderous sacrifices. Writer-director Oz Perkins keeps the gore factor comparatively low, emphasizing instead slow-building psychological horror, spooled out slowly through interlocking, time-shifting plot lines which also take in the lives of another current student (Lucy Boynton) and a former one (Emma Roberts). It eventually falls to a kindly priest (Greg Ellwand) to bring some clarity to the mayhem, although the film is so vested in its deceptive ending; Christian belief is only pro forma.

Watch out for: An occult theme, knife violence with some gore, occasional profanities and fleeting crass language.

Rated: A-III, adults; MPAA: R

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