‘Kindred’ Movie Review: Horror Flick Caught Copying Its Peers
British horror: an underdeveloped genre, if it is indeed a genre at all. The Woman in Black is, perhaps, its most notable member, and a number of films are cropping up these days determined to buff up the canon. Kindred undoubtedly has these lofty goals behind it.
Tamara Lawrence stars as Charlotte, a young woman at odds with the stuffy family of her boyfriend Ben (Edward Holcroft). When the pair announce a move from rural England to Australia, Ben’s mother Margaret (Fiona Shaw) can’t seem to stomach the news, and an equally strange reaction from Margaret’s live-in stepson Thomas (Jack Lowden, also producer) sets the couple on edge.
After a strange incident puts Ben out of the picture, Charlotte is increasingly forced into the baroque menace of Margaret and Thomas’s household. I’ll stop the plot descriptions here, but anyone who’s ever seen a horror movie should be able to fill in the blanks quite readily once they learn that Charlotte is pregnant with Ben’s child.
The film’s direction is rather deft and the performances are all praiseworthy — it’s an utterly derivative plot that holds Kindred back. A lot of Rosemary’s Baby with a little Get Out plus the Union Jack seems to be just what the doctor ordered for director Joe Marcantonio, and the result would be a compelling one if never before had these films been in your Netflix queue. Marcantonio does add his own unique message here, and it prevents the film from being completely write off-able, but the way we get there is just painfully copied. Even the ever-important horror movie twists fail to be original.
This movie is perhaps a bit too high-minded for people going only for cheap thrills and too unoriginal for those looking for the next Hereditary. It’s left somewhere at the bottom of the valley in between, unable to stand out among its class.