If it seems like forever ago that you were reading about a movie called The Blackcoat’s Daughter, well, that’s because it was. It’s also a false memory we implanted in your mind, because the movie wasn’t called The Blackcoat’s Daughter back then. It was called February. (Gotcha!) Regardless, both this writer and The A.V. Club’s A.A. Dowd were fans of Osgood Perkins’ directorial debut when it toured the film-festival circuit in 2015; writing from the Toronto International Film Festival, Dowd said it was “a horror movie that’s at once clearly indebted to its genre predecessors (shades of Suspiria, The Shining, and Halloween) and stylistically distinctive enough to feel new.”
The A.V. Club was just one of many outlets singing the film’s praises out of TIFF and Fantastic Fest, which led to its acquisition by A24, the distributor behind recent critical favorites like The Witch and Green Room (both of which ended up on our list of the 20 best films of 2016). Then, something curious happened. A24 changed the title of the film, and then sat on it for more than a year. They waited so long, in fact, that Perkins released another movie, I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House, in the meantime. Now, though, The Blackcoat’s Daughter has an official release date, announced today by EW.
The film will bow in theaters on March 31, 2017, with an exclusive sneak preview run on DirecTV starting February 16. The film stars Lucy Boynton and Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka as students stranded at a prep school over a chilly holiday weekend, and Emma Roberts as a former student determined to make it back to the school at any cost. EW also unveiled some exclusive photos from the film, and interestingly, they seem to have a slightly brighter color palette than the subdued grays that blanketed the film when this writer saw it at Fantastic Fest. (You can compare EW’s photos at the link above with the film’s Fantastic Fest trailer below.)
Perhaps Perkins has been tinkering with The Blackcoat’s Daughter during its long fallow period? We’ll find out in a little less than three months.