Saturday, 1 October 2011

THE KINDRED (1987)


Aw man, I hate it when this happens. The Kindred is one of those film that I've wanted to see for years, thanks to the trailer for it showing up on a lot of my early horror rentals back in the day. I finally picked up a copy on eBay as I thought it was about time I gave the full length film a chance instead of just the trailer, and aside from the awesome cover art, I'm kinda disappointed.

I'm not sure if this is down to the film itself or my overblown expectations after loving the trailer for years, but I feel kinda let down by it. The film has plenty of rubber monsters, blood, action and invention, but it's also very slow between the monster scenes, to the point that a lot of it feels like a TV show episode, padded out with endless dialogue rather than moving the plot along a great deal.

An elderly scientist reveals secrets to her son while on her deathbed, and requests that he goes and destroys the notes for the secret project she has been working on. With the help of various scientists and other bland characters, John (the son) sets about unravelling the mystery of his mother's weird experiments... and meets a number of freakish mutants along the way!


An uneven mix of horror, science fiction and thriller, The Kindred doesn't really get going until about seventy minutes into its running time, by which time you'll either be engrossed or asleep. Once it does kick into gear and starts flinging scares at the screen, the film is extremely effective (there is a transformation scene involving gills erupting on a character which is a sequence that has haunted me ever since I saw the trailer).

If you make it to the eighty minute mark, it's great. The characters are all a bit pointless, with little in the way of chemistry or conflict between them, but somehow they do manage to muddle through. The effects for the monsters and failed experiments are cheesy and rubbery, but very effective in the confines of this film.

It's complete b-movie addict fodder, but thanks to that excellent third act (echoed stylistically in later films such as Species, Mimic and the like) it at least offers some real entertainment. This is helped by liberal amounts of thrashing tentacles, close ups of the monster's hideous face and plenty of blood.

The use of serene music at the end of the film really adds a creepy atmosphere to the onscreen mayhem. I do feel disappointed by it though, as nothing could really live up to the expectations the trailer gave me. I'm glad I've seen it now though, and even more glad the big-box VHS of it has been added to my collection at long last.

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