31 Days of Horror Movie: The New Daughter (2009; PG-13; 108 min)

Any movie with Kevin Costner is on my to-see list, so I was surprised to realize I had forgotten about this movie. And while it was nice to see ol’ Kevin in the role of a devoted father, I’m not quite sure the rest of the movie worked out as well. I mean, the special effects were creepy and all that, but by the end I felt as if I was in a B-movie theater suffering from a bad movie-theater popcorn tummy ache, thanks to the groans and ughs I couldn’t hold in.

Costner plays John, a newly divorced writer who has just moved his  7-year-old son Sam and 16-year-old daughter Louisa to a beautiful new home in the always-storming boonies of South Carolina. Now, why three people might need about 6,000 square feet of nice, old house is a bit beyond me, but so it is. Beware: kind of an “Ewww!” moment right near the beginning when Louisa realizes they forgot to bring indoor cat Marmalade’s litter box with them and John says he will get it tomorrow. Bye-bye nice house. Okay, back to plot of the movie.

Now, Louisa and Sam are bored, so they soon begin to explore their many lush acres. This is where they discover a tall mound which emits a kind of harpish melody. They show their dad this cool find, but none of them seem to think it odd that a hill can play music. Neither do they think it too odd when Louisa begins to sleepwalk at night and returns covered in mud and holding strange voodoo-style dolls. In fact, John does a search online to look into these strange happenings, but soon dismisses it as his being a “crappy Dad.”

Meanwhile, Sam’s class at his new school is learning about ants, and how each colony has a queen ant: “the only girl in the whole family…and she’s in charge.” Hmm. Wonder how this might relate back to Louisa and her mound she’s so fond of? Well, we soon find out when John calls the realtor who sold him the house and learns that the hill out back is actually an Indian burial mound, and previous occupants of the house, including a teen girl, have met untimely deaths. Of course, more deaths and freaky mayhem ensue as John tries to rid his property of the singing mound and kill off the scary ant-creatures invading his house who will stop at nothing to keep their new queen! The question is, will he succeed, or will the music live on?

  • Top Scare: Sitter or Woods
  • Heartbeats: 2 3/4 out of 5
  • Gore Factor: 3 out of 5
  • Suspense Factor: 3 out of 5
  • Recommended for: 13 and up

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