The Kindred Image

The Kindred

By Rob Rector | January 3, 2022

It takes very little time for horror-thriller The Kindred, directed by Jamie Patterson, to jumpstart your nerves. Within the first few minutes, we witness Helen (April Pearson) darting out of a highrise into the street, looking up at a jumper. However, before she can register more than a scream, Helen is struck by a passing motorist. As sudden as that scene is, it is not indicative of the overall style.

From there, The Kindred takes its sweet time following Helen, one year later, waking from her coma and trying to piece together the moments in her life that led up to the accident and fill in the year she’s lost. For one, it was her father who leaped off the building in front of her. Secondly, Helen was pregnant when she was struck. Miraculously, the daughter survived and has been cared for by Helen’s husband, Greg (Blake Harrison).

That’s a hell of a lot to handle while trying to also regain control of your atrophied muscles. As such, it’s easy to excuse Helen if she does not immediately bond with her little girl. Her maternal connection is further hampered by recurring visions of shadowy children populating their home. While Greg attempts to provide love and patience, he seems to fall short in getting Helen the additional psychological support she so desperately needs, leaving her to navigate this new reality on her own for the most part.

As she pokes and prods through her familial past, Helen stumbles across Frank (James Cosmo), an elderly friend of her father’s who seems to know more about her history than he initially lets on. She also encounters Father Monroe (90s mainstay Patrick Bergin) and Detective Shepherd (Robbie Gee), who is still trying to knot up the cause of her father’s suicide.

“…recurring visions of shadowy children populating their home.”

Helen’s search for answers leads The Kindred away from its initial horrors into more of a procedural mystery with flirtation in the supernatural. Helen even calls in a “paranormal investigation” at one point. Yet, despite the multitude of frayed threads, the script by Christian J. Hearn never feels as though it’s juggling more than it can handle and settles into a slow, steady march forward for answers.

All of this is helped by having Pearson as our guide. It’s a complicated role requiring her to convey post-partum depression, her agnosticism confronted by the supernatural, and reckoning with her own familial identity. It would be easy to navigate the role into histrionics, but the actor pares it back to its moral essence, helping keep viewers centered and focused as her world is perpetually rattled.

The Kindred could afford to lose the apparitional appearances, as they seem to have wandered in from another set and don’t directly enhance the narrative. Instead, they feel more like J-Horror jump-scares than a natural extension of Helen’s psyche. But, Patterson and Hearn stay focused on the main story, which is more than strong enough to carry viewers across the finish line.

Despite its plot-thick propensities, The Kindred remains a superior British thriller that unfolds with a deliberate, measured pace leading its audience through an engaging mystery with a deeply human core.

The Kindred (2022)

Directed: Jamie Patterson

Written: Christian J. Hearn

Starring: April Pearson, James Cosmo, Patrick Bergin, Robbie Gee, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

The Kindred Image

"…an engaging mystery with a deeply human core."

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