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‘Kindred’ review: Powerful horror movie tackles freedom and choice

A well acted and beautiful tale.

Kindred highlights the difficulty of being a pregnant woman in horror movies. Charlotte and her boyfriend Ben are expecting their first child. After Ben dies in a tragic accident, Charlotte is taken in by his mother Margaret and her stepson Thomas. As expected, their plans for the baby are much different than Charlotte’s; but what they have in store will surprise audiences.

The horror found in the film does not provide traditional scares. Instead, Kindred offers a more sinister look at Charlotte’s pregnancy. Charlotte makes it clear early on she is not excited about being pregnant. Ben’s death sends her into a state of shock that allows her boyfriend’s family to become more involved with her life. This sets the wheels in motion for the main theme of the story.

Kindred is clearly about a woman who is not being allowed to make a choice about her body. When she is initially told not to leave for health reasons, it is an annoyance that makes sense. When she finds out the phone lines have been cut, things take a more ominous meaning. This is another example of the movie using normal horror tropes to tell a more realistic story.

Director Joe Marcanronio easily could have told a heavy handed tale that pushed viewers away. Instead, issues are tackled with grace. This is clearly a movie about a woman whose freedom has been taken from her. Watching as she is forced to carry a pregnancy to term adds an unexpected layer of topicality that is frightening. It is a hard issue to handle without being over the top, but it is done perfectly.

'Kindred' review: Powerful horror movie tackles freedom and choice

Kindred has some strong performances from the entire cast. The key thing about the movie is it never allows itself to become too schlocky. The actors do a great job of getting the stakes across without having to resort to cheap scares. Much like the story, they allow things to flow naturally. This gives things a more realistic and terrifying feel. 

Since the movie does not rely on supernatural chills, it uses great camerawork to draw audiences in. Kindred has a claustrophobic feel that mirrors what Charlotte is feeling literally and psychologically. There is powerful imagery that is almost gothic in nature. This succeeds in  creating terror that is akin to more traditional scary movies.

This year has seen movies use techniques found in horror films to deliver a powerful message. Kindred is a beautiful looking psychological thriller that deals with a real life issue. The horror of not having control over one’s body is effectively portrayed in the film. The theme is a powerful one wrapped inside of an disconcerting movie.

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