The creators of “Kindred” treat their audience like they are a bunch of idiots by presenting a meandering and lazy horror film.
“Kindred” is a horror movie about a pregnant woman Charlotte (Tamara Lawrance) who stays at her boyfriend’s mother’s mansion after his death. Charlotte is more or less forced to live there by her boyfriend’s mother, Margaret (Fiona Shaw), and half-brother, Thomas (Jack Lowden). Charlotte, essentially a prisoner, is suspicious of the family’s hospitality, which drives her down a path of paranoia as she attempts to escape the mansion.
There’s a lot that can go wrong with any film: The acting could be bad, the writing could be clunky, the cinematography could be bland. Heck, it could be out of focus. But the worst thing a movie can do is create a plot so predictable you know how it will end in the first ten minutes, and this is exactly what “Kindred” does.
The film doesn’t do anything new or interesting, and calling it a “horror” or “thriller” movie is a big stretch. In a genre that has already overdone the “person is drugged and held against her will but no one believes the story” trope, director Joe Marcantonio acts as if he’s reinventing the wheel.
One of the main reasons this film feels so predictable is that Charlotte’s caretakers, Margaret and Thomas, are the definition of the phrase “sus.” The performances of Fiona Shaw and Jack Lowden feel like the director told them to remember to act suspicious, and nothing else. It doesn’t help that they cast Shaw as the “benevolent” caretaker for Charlotte, whose constant scowling screams, “Don’t trust me — I’m the villain.” The film tries to frame Charlotte as overly paranoid by creating a loose backstory about her mentally ill mother, but if you’re able to use basic reasoning skills, you know Charlotte’s fears are definitely valid.
The protagonist is constantly making the wrong decisions, and that’s another reason why “Kindred” feels like an insult to the audience. At least with movies such as “Get Out,” the main characters catch on rather quickly that something is awry and respond accordingly. In “Kindred,” Charlotte literally finds a pill in her tea and then keeps drinking it. Charlotte is as clueless as the camp counselors who die in the “Friday the 13th” movies.
“Kindred” shows us its hand in the first ten minutes, and from there does nothing but follow every cliche of the ever-growing subgenre of pregnancy horror. The plot is tired, the characters are underdeveloped and the truly unsatisfying ending makes this movie irredeemable. “Kindred” is not just bad; it’s an insult to anyone who pays the six dollars to watch it.
1/2 unwanted quiches out of 5