THE BLACKCOATS DAUGHTER
THE DEVILS DAUGHTER; FEBRUARY
This film is known under a variety of titles February, The Devils Daughter. It gets called The Blackcoat's Daughter most often because that it what it was renamed in US release, or else February because that would appear to be its original title and it is listed as such at the IMDB. The thing about these two titles is that neither of them are that relevant to the story. We see a calendar in one shot and realise that the school scenes are taking place in the month of February but that is the sole relevance the month in the title has. Quite what the blackcoats daughter means is a puzzle. Blackcoat is an archaic term for a clergyman but unless you want to include some obscure reference to one of the Catholic priests, neither of whom are mentioned as having daughters, this does not seem applicable. The only other connection one can think of is that James Remar, who plays Lucy Boyntons father, wears a black coat.
Osgood Perkins is a master of the slow film. His set-ups are not those of easy jumps or formula filler. Rather he drinks in small detail, allows things to take place in slow, seemingly irrelevant movements, and then jolts us out of our nonchalance by a wild and outre image. The other notable aspect of Osgoods films is their wilful crypticism. As you are watching the stories of the three girls play out, it only gradually starts to become apparent that we are not watching a storyline that occurs concurrently but one that is flipping back and forward across different periods of time. And then comes the jolt twist [PLOT SPOILERS] where James Remar reveals the photo of his dead daughter and it is none other than Lucy Boynton who we have been following as one of the central three girls.
Amid the slowness of observation, Osgood Perkins throws in wild images that make us sit bolt upright Lucy Boynton coming across Kiernan Shipka engaged in a strange ritual in the furnace room; Kiernan later tossing and turning in bed before she abruptly twists with her legs arched up over her back. Or where she is being examined and abruptly says to one of the women Dont touch me, cunt.
Where the film becomes confused is at the ending [PLOT SPOILERS] where it becomes apparent that Kiernan Shipka killed everybody at the school in the past, while Emma Roberts travels to the school several years ahead in the present and slaughters James Remar and Lauren Holly before going off into the abandoned school. I have read articles on this heres one at The Blackcoat's Daughter Ending Explained at Creators.co that offer the theory that Emma Roberts is the grown-up version of Kiernan Shipka. I am not sure if I believe that one wouldnt the parents recognise her face as one that would be splashed all over the news? To me, the film is more a possession story, of which we get clear evidence. There is a scene at the asylum where Kiernan Shipka relinquishes the entity after the priest performs an exorcism so it would seem evident that she is no longer possessed. Is it not too difficult to imagine that Emma Roberts was another patient at the hospital who then became possessed by the entity and escaped.