DVD Review: The New Daughter
I hardly ever watch direct-to-video releases, but I made an exception for this one because it stars Kevin Costner. While I’ve never considered him a great actor, I am firm in my stance that Kevin Costner has never been in a bad movie. Yes, I’ve seen Waterworld. I don’t care what you say, that movie is fucking awesome.
Um yeah, about that whole “never been in a bad movie” thing… well, let’s just say he was never in a direct-to-DVD movie either. Until now.
In The New Daughter, Costner stars as a recently divorced single father who moves into a new home with his two children. You know the house. It’s that massive “too good to be true” house out in the woods that the kids seem to hate and the lady at the local convenience store knows some juicy gossip about. We’ve seen it about a hundred horror movies before. I bet that landlord makes good money.
The realtor forgot to tell Costner about this massive mound in the back yard. Oh well, no big deal. At least one would think. However, his teenage daughter begins paying nightly visits to the mound and exhibiting some moody and erratic behavior, even relative to most teen girls.
Back at school, the young boy of the family is given an ant farm and learns that the entire colony relies on one “queen” ant for survival. Hey… come to think, of it that mound out back kind of looks like an ant hill. Holy parallels, Batman!
Costner’s daughter is played by Ivana Baquero, who is the little girl from Pan’s Labyrinth. She was good in that film, but she’s awful here. I’d probably say all the acting is bad but I’m convinced that even Marlon Brando couldn’t make these words sound good. The script is completely laughable.
That said, the film actually does a pretty good job at building tension. It would have been even more effective if not for the egregious use of the ominous tones and sound effects that seem to precede any potentially shocking moment. Hint: It’s not as scary if we know it’s coming.
Oh, and did you know that flashlights make lightsaber-like noises when you turn around and look behind you? Miraculously, I didn’t either.
The film starts slow and doesn’t really pick up any steam until the last 10 minutes or so for its pitiful excuse for a climax. I basically stuck with this one just so I could see what kind of bullshit creature they came up with as the inhabitants of that damn mound. If you laughed at the ludicrous aliens at the end of Signs, you’re going to get a kick out of this one.
NOTE: IMDb credits a December 18, 2009 limited theatrical release for this film. I can find no box-office information or any further evidence of this alleged release, so I’m convinced that it is direct-to-DVD. Although, it is possible that it was in a few theaters for a week and not a single person saw it.
Watch instead: Signs, The Amityville Horror, The Omen.