The Kindred (2021)
the kindred | jamie patterson | christian j. hearn | april pearson | blake harrison | james cosmo | ghost | ghosts | haunted | haunting | thriller | united kingdom | samantha bond | patrick bergin | james dreyfus | kirsty dillon | robbie gee | tahirah sharif | steve oram
Film: The Kindred
Director: Jamie Patterson
Writer: Christian J. Hearn
Starring: April Pearson, Blake Harrison and James Cosmo
This is a movie that I got turned on to when I was searching for horror movies released during 2022. I saw this was getting a limited release, but nowhere around me. For February, I decided to spotlight this movie for Women’s Appreciation due to it following April Pearson. I read a bit of the synopsis before coming in but wasn’t completely sure what it was about. I did hear about it on Jay of the Dead’s New Horror Movie ahead of seeing it. The synopsis here is a woman suffering from amnesia pieces together the events that led to her father’s suicide, only to be haunted by the ghosts of children that lead her to dark family secrets.
Now I’ll admit that I cleaned up the synopsis a bit as the one listed on the Internet Movie Database went into a spoiler. For this, we start seeing Helen Tullet (Pearson) panicking and fleeing down a corridor. We see her get into an elevator and goes outside. That is when a body falls from above and she is hit by a car.
We then see her in a hospital. She is awake and Greg (Blake Harrison) comes into her room. She is in good spirits with her acknowledging her husband. She is in a for a rude awakening though. Helen has been in a coma for a year. While she was out, their baby was born. She was named Heidi (Scarlett Annandale) and Greg has been looking after her. There are more changes as well. To keep up with the bills, he had to sell their house and they’ve moved into Helen’s father’s apartment, the place we saw in the beginning.
Helen has issues adjusting. She has atrophy so she needs to relearn to walk. She is having issues living in the house where her father committed suicide. There is also a baby that she must help take care of now. From what I’m gathering, Helen was a painter so Greg’s plan was to turn her father’s study into a studio for her. She would also stay home with the baby while he goes to work. The adjustments are difficult, but they’re making it work.
That is until Helen plugs in a phone that belonged to her father. There is a message on it from Frank Menzies (James Cosmo). He seems to be an old friend. Helen seeks him out and he seems thrilled that she did. The two of them hit it off and start to see each other more. This bothers Greg as he wants her to move on from what happened to her father. Frank also thinks she shouldn’t investigate things from the past.
Helen is forced to though. She starts to be haunted and seeing the ghosts of children like the synopsis stated. The things that she discovers leads her to the truth of her past, her father and about what happened to the missing children of Stoneworth. She even calls in a psychic, Stuart Hoskins (Steve Oram), to try and communicate with her father. What she discovers shakes the fabric of what she knows.
That is where I’m going to leave fleshing out the synopsis as I don’t want to go into spoilers. Where I want to start is that I like that this movie jumps right into things. We get a solid cold opening to set the problems that we have for this couple. I can believe the choices that Greg made. His wife is in a coma and they have a new baby. It makes sense that he doesn’t know when or even if Helen will wake up. He sells their house to make ends meet. He is also working a job he doesn’t care for. When Helen does wake up, she isn’t thrilled to move into the place that belonged to her father. It is probably paid off and more cost effective. I don’t know if Greg fully thought through the psychological effects it would have on his wife.
I’ll move over to Helen here. She has a lot on her plate. She saw her father commit suicide and that is the last thing she experienced before going into a coma. When she wakes up, even though it is a year later, to her it is the next day. That wound is still fresh. Moving into his place isn’t easy. On top of that, she can’t walk at first. She has physical therapy to go back to her normal life. I like the progression we get there. Since this wound with her father is still fresh, I can buy when people tell her to let things go, she can’t yet. The information that she finds isn’t easy to deal with and leads to much darker things as it goes on.
Now before I move away from the story, there is one last bit here. We get a bit of a Dario Argento-esque mystery. Helen cannot remember what her father said that sent her into a panic and ended up with her in a coma. She needs to remember this and Argento is made famous for our lead needing to remember something that is the final piece to the puzzle. Off the top of my head, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Suspiria and Deep Red all feature this. I guessed part of the reveal when we got a bit more information, but I like where it ultimately went. What I will say is that there is a murderer here and more people knew this information. They covered it up and that is why they don’t want her looking into it.
Where I’ll go next is the pacing. For the most part, it is good. We are getting around an hour and half, which is normal. We get a slow burn here, which is fine. My problem with this movie though is that is loses itself in the third act. I’m there for everything we get getting, but it just feels like it doesn’t know how to tie up all the loose ends. I liked the mystery they built and where they took it. We are also questioning if Helen is seeing the things around her. She is also questioning if she is a good mother or if she is lacking that feeling that one needs. The ending though was an interesting one. It is dark and that is something works for me.
Next then should be the acting. Pearson was good as our lead. I felt overwhelmed when she woke up. There is a lot that has happened in a year and she is trying to take it all in. I also can’t fault her for looking into what happened with her father like she does. As I said, it didn’t happen a year ago for her. She just woke up so it is the previous day. Harrison is solid as her husband. I liked to see Cosmo here in his role. I like the more we learn, the darker things get there. I’d say that Patrick Bergin as Father Monroe is fine along with Gillian Burrows as a former detective played by Samantha Bond. James Dreyfus, Robbie Gee, Oram and the rest of the cast were solid as well.
If I did have an issue it would come from the effects. Going along with the cinematography and the soundtrack with them as well. This movie goes to CGI with the dead children and it made it feel a bit like a ghostly. Other than that, we don’t get a lot of effects for the movie so it is shame that what we got there wasn’t great. The cinematography though is fine. I think we get some creepy stuff. The movie tries to use the technique where things are seen by us, but not the characters. It wasn’t used as effectively as it could be. Other than that, I thought the soundtrack was fine. It didn’t stand out or hurt the film for me. We did get a solid scene where backstory for Frank through a baby monitor is filled in. I did want to acknowledge that.
So then in conclusion here, I think we get some interesting aspects to this movie, but they don’t fully come together as well as they could. I like the mystery we get with Helen and her dark family secrets. That storyline was introduced well and I like some of the twists and turns there that kept me guessing. I think the rest of the characters and acting were solid. The movie does lose its way a bit. The effects we get are CGI and not great. The cinematography was also fine. I did enjoy this movie overall, but it falls short of being fully effective for me. I’d still say it is worth a viewing if it comes to a free service and you are into mysteries like this.
My Rating: 6 out of 10