I get a lot of screeners. There are often too many to go through, but I’ve been impressed by how many great horror films IFC Midnight has put out in the last few years. The company really made a name for itself with The Babadook, but this year, they’ve been putting out really quality content, like Swallow and Relic, two of my favorite films of 2020. What these films have in common is that they’re female-centric. All of them deal with issues that women face, be it abusive relationships, motherhood, or family dynamics.
Their latest film, Kindred, is set in the UK and focuses on the plight of Charlotte (Tamara Lawrance), who finds out she’s pregnant about 15 minutes into the film. Before she knows it, her boyfriend’s family, especially the sinister matriarch, Margaret (Fiona Shaw), tries to strip her of her agency. She has no say in whether or not she should even have the baby, or if she has the baby, how to raise the child. The film is about gaslighting and negative stereotypes women STILL have to fight against. Charlotte is labeled mad and ill more than once, for instance. It feels so relevant, when you consider what’s happened globally and the backlash against women’s right. Poland, for instance, recently passed a nationwide abortion ban, which has only been delayed because of mass protests. Abortion rights in the U.S., meanwhile, face a dire threat, now that the SCOTUS has a far-right 6-3 majority.
I was struck by how unnerving Kindred is, how all the monsters are human, and how no one, and I mean NO ONE will listen to the female protagonist. It’s an incredibly relevant film that I recommend.
For more on the film, you can check out my full review for HorrOrigins. The film is now streaming On Demand.