Kindred is a 2020 British horror feature film about a young pregnant woman who suspects her dead boyfriend’s family want her unborn baby.
Directed by Joe Marcantonio – making his feature debut – from a screenplay co-written with Jason McColgan, the movie stars Tamara Lawrance, Jack Lowden, Fiona Shaw, Edward Holcroft and Chloe Pirrie.
When her boyfriend Ben suddenly dies in an accident, mother-to-be Charlotte collapses upon receiving the news. She wakes up in Ben’s family home, a crumbling old manor house in the middle of nowhere with Ben’s overbearing mother, Margaret, and his controlling stepbrother, Thomas. They are determined to care for her, at least until the baby arrives.
Grief-stricken and increasingly haunted by visions possibly brought on by the pregnancy, Charlotte accepts their help. However, as the days go by and her visions intensify, she begins to doubt the family’s intentions and her suspicions grow that they may be trying to control her and her unborn baby…
“Kindred, while tainted by some plot holes and a frustrating premise, is tense and thought-provoking. Bound to be divisive, it will certainly generate good conversation from the Black community as Charlotte feels like a representation of Black women, especially Black mothers, who are often unprotected by institutions that are supposed to help them and people who are supposed to support them.” Daily Dead
“Although Tamara Lawrence gives a committed and riveting performance as a woman in mental decline, she is left flailing amongst fragmented dream sequences with no apparent threat. This could have been a Rosemary’s Baby hybrid with some old English horror thrown in, but Kindred simply fails to measure up. Narratively mediocre and shockingly average it maybe but those powerful performances do much to save it from ignominy.” Flickering Myth
“Skilled performances from the entire cast help, but no less crucial to the film’s effectiveness is the visual command, the elegant yet somehow baleful compositions and the long takes that allow the psychological unease of the scenario to fester. The prickly score is another key part of the package, with sharp, counterintuitive use of a serene Bach cello suite in a moment of sudden peril. The chilling finale is a shocker, but it’s the restraint that guides us there that makes Kindred an accomplished debut.” The Hollywood Reporter
“Aside from a couple of hints that she used to play the piano, no real details about Charlotte are ever shared. So, even to the audience, Charlotte does not exist much beyond the role of ‘pregnant woman’. Writers Marcantonio and Jason McColgan’s psychological pregnancy horror creates an atmospheric and claustrophobic setting of deceit, grief, and death, but the ending would have benefited from a female writer or perspective.” Killer Horror Critic
“In this era of mechanical jump scares and CG, Kindred is a rare performance-driven horror movie, and what performances! Relative newcomer Lawrance is quite a find, comfortable across the final girl spectrum that requires a performer to go from shrinking mouse to angry lioness, and her facial reactions to the ongoing absurdities of her confinement inject some necessary comic moments to allay the tension.” The Movie Waffler
” …the surefire premise is squandered over the course of 101 minutes that increasingly wander off course before returning to a preordained path, beset by bewildering artistic decisions that undermine an occasionally harrowing tone. What bolsters the narrative are three strong performances which, together with handsome production design and lush cinematography, make the film — about the inherent threats posed by members of a family — barely bearable to behold.” Screen Anarchy
In the US, IFC Midnight will release Kindred theatrically and on VOD on November 6th 2020.
Cast and characters:
Tamara Lawrance … Charlotte
Jack Lowden … Thomas
Edward Holcroft … Ben
Chloe Pirrie … Jane
Kiran Sonia Sawar … Linsey
Anton Lesser … Doctor Richards
Fiona Shaw … Margaret
Natalia Kostrzewa … Betty
Nyree Yergainharsian … Doctor Rios
Toyah Frantzen … Doctor
Trailer and clip: