Review: IFC Midnight’s ‘KINDRED’ will make you scream.


Written and Directed by Joe Marcantonio

Starring Tamara Lawrance, Jack Lowden, Fiona Shaw, and Edward Holcraft

KINDRED follows vulnerable mother-to-be Charlotte (Tamara Lawrance) as she is taken in by her recently deceased boyfriend’s mother (Fiona Shaw) and her stepson (Jack Lowden), who seem increasingly obsessed with her every move. Plagued by mysterious hallucinations, Charlotte’s suspicions grow about Margaret and Thomas’ intentions for her unborn child.

As someone who had not one, but two traumatic birth experiences, Kindred spoke to me on an entirely different level. The innate fear you experience when you are growing a small human inside your body is enough without the opinions and actions from those who have ulterior motives. Tamara Lawrance embodies the visceral panic that occurs on the physical, emotional, mental plains of waiting for what a mother hopes will be an inevitably hopeful outcome. But the most evocative aspect of Kindred is the gaslighting pregnant women often endure. Your instinct is ignored constantly, questions deemed silly or paranoid. Doctors and perfect strangers are poking and prodding you with advice and sometimes, touching you without your permission. Pregnancy is a very invasive experience no matter how you look at it. Kindred tackles all this and so much more in an intelligent and terrifying way.

The camera work, colors, and music all create an ambiance that feels foreboding. You don’t even know how completely off-kilter you’ll be by the cinematography until it’s too late. You will question your own opinions about what is real and what is not due to the brilliant and carefully crafted script from writer-director Joe Marcantonio.  His work with this cast is award-worthy. He is able to bounce your opinion about these characters like a ping pong ball as the plot rolls along. Perhaps with the exception of Fiona Shaw’s portrayal of Margaret. She is overbearing and loathsome throughout. Her backstory is a smartly written foil for Lawrance’s Charlotte. Jack Lowden performance as Thomas lies somewhere in between the two. Desperately needing to be useful and loved, his loyalty is fickle and all the more disturbing. Tamara Lawrance wins the day with her perfect portrayal of Charlotte. Grief-stricken, imprisoned, bedrest restricted woman, whose internal alarms are ringing ad nauseam, she is phenomenal and represents the confused and delirious viewer, as well. Kindred is dark and scary. It will get under your skin as it slowly drives you into your own madness.

KINDRED will open in select theaters, digital and VOD on November 6th.

Directed by: Joe Marcantonio
Written by: Joe Marcantonio and Jason McColgan
Produced by: Dominic Norris and Jack Lowden
Cinematographer: Carlos Catalan
Edited by: Fiona Desouza
Starring: Tamara Lawrance, Jack Lowden, Fiona Shaw, Edward Holcroft
Runtime: 100 mins

About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.

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