Kindred is a very well directed horror film, that much is certain. An all too common complaint of modern horror films is an overuse of cheap methods of getting screams out of their audiences with jump scares and screeching violins. While Kindred does have its fair share of a high pitched and dramatic string scoring, one thing that is notably absent is the infamous jump scare. Instead, Kindred builds up an atmosphere with its dark colour palette, reliance on close ups and well timed editing. There are several scenes in this film that build up great tension and leave you on the edge of your seat.
Kindred also is a very grounded horror with several unique aspects. There are no masked murderers or creepy ghosts in this, the “villains” are just normal people. Well, “normal people” that live in a big mansion, but they don’t have any sort of supernatural ability or aren’t even creepy serial killers. The main character, Charlotte, is a vegetarian – which in itself is actually quite rare in a protagonist – but what’s most original about her is her stance on pregnancy. Typically in films, pregnancy is seen as a magical occurrence that everyone should feel lucky to have happen to them. At first, Charlotte is disgusted by the idea of having a living being inside of her and has no interest in bearing children. Though of course by the end she comes round to the idea.
Where Kindred falls short is its overall story. The opening act does a good job of setting up the premise and the characters and leads to a very dramatic death. However, as the film goes on, you start to notice the film beginning to meander and dance around certain ideas rather than directly tackle them. The film could definitely have done with being at least about ten to twenty minutes shorter. This way it could have been a very tight and thrilling experience. Due to the poor pacing, a lot of the middle of the film becomes very stale and boring. Thankfully, when the third act starts, the pace begins to pick up again, but at that point you may have already checked out.
What also doesn’t help Kindred‘s lacklustre pacing is its very bland script. A lot of the dialogue is quite dull and derivative, while some character decisions are pretty baffling. There’s also some things here and there that aren’t really explained and not in the “work it out for yourself” kind of way. That being said, the film does definitely want the audience to figure things out. The mystery is quite a standard one, which won’t be spoiled here, but it does still manage to add an interesting element to an already reasonably intriguing film.
Kindred is not the best film you’ll ever watch, in fact it has quite a few similarities to the far superior Get Out. However the director, Joe Marcantonio, proves himself as a competent director and could be a name to look out for in the not too distant future.
Kindred releases on Sky Cinema and Now on Friday June 25th