The Kindred review – meandering, convoluted psychological thriller

January 8, 2022
Jonathon Wilson 0
Film, Film Reviews
2

Summary

Despite one or two decent ideas and a game lead performance, The Kindred is a messy, meandering psychological drama.

2

Summary

Despite one or two decent ideas and a game lead performance, The Kindred is a messy, meandering psychological drama.

This review of The Kindred is spoiler-free.


Jamie Patterson’s The Kindred is playing in all kinds of familiar genre territory. Part supernatural thriller, part new-baby horror, part amnesiac-putting-the-pieces-together mystery, part meditation on legacy, part Neil from The Inbetweeners, this is a buffet of ideas, a lot of them bad ones, and you’ll be thoroughly sick of it by the time it reaches a conclusion that tries to up the intensity but only really manages to up the sheer silliness of the whole endeavor.

And it’s a shame! It’s a shame because there are characters to explore and themes to unpack, and it all seems underserved by a frantic desire to rocket between plot points and reel off every expected beat in the playbook. The twist, when it comes, feels about an hour overdue, and the hilarious way in which it plays out isn’t quite enough to make up for the wait.

April Pearson takes the lead here as Helen Tullet, a young woman who was knocked straight into a coma by a speeding car after witnessing the suicide of her father. Pearson deserves a better outing than this. She deserves a better script than the one Christian J. Hearn has knocked together, in which she discovers after a year’s nap that she has become one of only a couple of women in human history to successfully give birth while comatose, and she deserves a better on-screen boyfriend than Greg (Blake Harrison), who breaks the news the second she wakes up and then moves her and their daughter, Heidi, back into the high-rise flat that Helen’s father fatally flung himself from. It hardly seems like a recipe for healing.

Lo and behold, it isn’t. As if Helen’s anxieties about motherhood weren’t enough, she also has to deal with what she believes is a ghost, not to mention a series of cold cases involving missing children from the ‘80s that has some connection to her father and her father’s mysterious friend, Frank (James Cosmo). Pretty early on, though I won’t spoil it here, this connection becomes quite clear, and from there it’s simply a waiting game while various uninterested characters go through the motions.

The Kindred has some so-so elements, including a decent soundtrack, a game lead performance, and one or two effective sequences. I also appreciated how it contains its haunting sequences within a very nondescript working-class British flat, rather than some kind of expansive country manse or creaky manor. But the place is so stocked with archetypes and cliches that any potential novelty is quickly wasted, and the weak, messy script can’t course-correct a meandering story that gives its biggest surprises away too early and keeps its biggest assets hamstrung all the way through.

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