The Aunt of a young girl saves her from being hit by a car. Several years later, the Aunt returns to stay…
In the late ’80s into the ’90s, we got a number of films about psycho roommates, flatmates, girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands and others. We had The Stepfather, Single White Female, The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, Fatal Attraction and many others. Of course, as is often the case, some were great, others less so. Much like everything in film, in the 2000’s these types of films made a comeback, with the likes of The Reisdent, Swimfan or The Roommate. They all kind of follow a similar plot, that of a seemingly normal person worming their way into someone’s life only to be revealed as disturbed in some way, who will kill to keep their secret if need be. The one common thing most of these films have, is that often the we, the audience often know this way before the characters on screen find out. The question then becomes, will they find out, or will the psycho get away with it.
Kindred Spirits harks back to these kinds of films. But it does it in a much more clever way than many of them, as it does it in a more subtle way. Sadie (brilliantly played by Caitlin Stasey) is very close to her niece, in part due to saving her life. Nicole (well played by Sasha Frolova) is much closer to her Aunt than her mother, in part because of Sadie saving her life. Nicole’s mother Chloe ( a good Thora Birch performance) tries her best but keeps clashing with her daughter. She is also in a relationship with the father of Nicole’s best friend ( a small but good performance from Macon Blair), something she wants to keep secret for now.
Each of the three main female characters are well thought out and their relationships work well. To be honest, this does mean other characters to get sidelined at times, as the film focuses on the three women, but frankly when their performances are this good, you don’t need to see anyone else.
The writer, Chris Siverston lets the story take its time as we watch Sadie begin to manipulate those around her to get what she wants, planting seeds of doubt in some characters, to break up relationships, friendships. However, perhaps I missed it, but while its clear what Sadie wants, the thing that is perhaps not fully developed is the why. It doesn’t detract from the film overall, but I do think an explanation is needed.
Director Lucky McKee develops the story well, letting the tension build as Sadie puts her plan into motion, the other characters oblivious, right up to the potentially chilling last act. Sadly I say potentially, as the film is let down slightly by a very late in the day development. The resolution is so sudden, you feel the film needed to be a few minutes longer, or strangely, possibly slightly shorter. I can’t say more without spoiling the film.
Despite this however, I really liked the film. The performances are great, the tension slowly creeping up on you as it heads into its final act. There is violence, but it is very restrained, with very little actually onscreen.
Kindred Spirits may fall into the ‘…..from hell’ type of film like those mentioned at the start, but I thought it one of the best I’ve seen in that sub genre for some time.
Even with a reservation regarding the final act, Kindred Spirits is a film I think is worth checking out.
Rating: ***1/2 out of 5