Film Review: Kindred (2020)

Essentially a three-hander between Tamara Lawrance, Fiona Shaw and Jack Lowden, Kindred eschews the supernatural for the simply scary

“I’m not paranoid…”

There are horror cinematic references aplenty in Joe Marcantonio’s Kindred, inspiration drawn from some recognisable classics of the genre but the end result is something which speaks loudly, and effectively, with its own voice. The particular insidiousness of unvoiced racism, maternal mortality, the dangers of being near a horse…all are dealt with gradually impending doom.

Lawrance’s Charlotte has discovered she’s pregnant and she’s not sure how she feels about it, not least because she and hunksome partner Ben (a briefly seen Edward Holcroft) are intending to emigrate to Australia. Ben’s mother Margaret is not best pleased at the prospect of losing her first grandchild to another hemisphere and when Ben gets too close to that horse, sets in motion a nefarious plan to ensure it doesn’t happen.

Kindred emerges as a truly chillling film, as Marcantonio steers clear of effects-laden fantasy horror for something that will send shivers down even the sturdiest of spines. Fiona Shaw is malevolently magnificent as the matriarch who is determined to get what she wants, no matter the cost to Charlotte, who finds herself embedded in a choking coccoon of ostensible concern in the decaying family mansion that she and Ben has sought to flee.

Lawrance also impresses (after some sterling stage work) as a young woman thrust so completely out of her milieu that the ‘simple’ act of escaping is nigh-on impossible as every conceivable avenue is closed off to her (the hospital scene…eek!). And as Ben’s omnipresent step-brother Thomas, Jack Lowden offers powerful support as a character whose murky motivations are as unsettling as anything else here. Creepily impressive work all round.

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