Runtime: 1h 41m
Director: Joe Marcantonio
Writers: Joe Marcantonio, Jason McColgan
Stars: Tamara Lawrance, Fiona Shaw, Jack Lowden
Initial: I mentioned the title to my husband who thought that this would be a vampire movie. It isn’t. But why *haven’t* I watched any vampire movies lately? Did Twilight kill vampire movies?
What Did I Think:
I’ve noticed in the last couple of years that the term “gaslighting” gets misused a lot. Gaslighting isn’t just lying to someone. Gaslighting is lying to someone in a way that makes them doubt their perception of reality. The horror in Kindred is derived almost entirely from gaslighting.
After the sudden death of Ben (her partner), pregnant Charlotte is taken in by Ben’s mother and step-brother who live in a semi-remote country mansion. She doesn’t want to be taken in by them, doesn’t like them, and isn’t even sure she wants to keep the baby. Ben’s mother, on the other hand, is very keen on her son’s lineage continuing and step-brother Tom is very keen on whatever his step-mother wants. Charlotte is extra concerned because her own mother suffered from perinatal psychosis, a fact which Ben’s mother wields more adeptly than any horror movie slasher has ever used a knife. “You’re sick,” she basically keeps telling Charlotte, “just like your mother was sick. Luckily, you have us as family to help you.” Here, help translates to being locked in, drugged, and cut off from the outside world. Ben’s family is powerful enough in their corner of the world to have most of the community on their side.
I think Kindred wants me to doubt Charlotte as a reliable narrator, but I really never do. Would that have made this movie more effective? I don’t know. As it is, Charlotte’s helplessness is a horrible enough thing.