It’s a unique thing to be emotionally invested in a creature feature…
While it more than hits the right beats on paper, The Kindred which is now available on Blu-Ray for the first time manages to rise above the standard fare as it weaves in the complex questions that are at the forefront when science goes too far inside a very well made practical effects creature feature.
With Kim Hunter as Dr. Amanda Hollins, a molecular scientist who calls on her son John (David Allen Brooks) to eliminate all evidence of genetic experiments while she is lying in a hospital bed. Most specifically it’s her “Anthony Journals” that she wants to make sure never see the light of day. However, an acquaintance of Hollins; Dr. Philip Lloyd (Rod Steiger) wants to continue her studies no matter what the cost! As John heads to his isolated childhood home with a group of friends to uncover his mother’s research and ultimately destroy it all, they quickly discover that they aren’t alone in the house as something is watching…and waiting. A tentacled creature born from the desire to alter human evolution which is mad as hell and ready to kill!
Certainly there’s nothing to say that The Kindred really did anything to reinvent the genre there’s something to be said for the excellent execution, fleshed out characters and practical effects that draw us into this story of science gone horribly horribly awry.
Coming off the modest hits of The Dorm That Dripped Blood & The Power, the filmmaking team of Jeffrey Obrow and Stephen Carpenter deliver what is easily their most well rounded effort here with The Kindred.
Unlike some horror filmmakers, we are actually treated to a tale where we are getting emotionally invested in the characters which allow the creature feature stakes to get even that much more intense.
It’s a well-designed film that stays in its wheelhouse and doesn’t get overly presumptuous with its message of human ambition running amok with science. The narrative has a genuine flow to it and never tries to get to in-depth or stray far from its primary objectives no matter how many characters are interjected into the fray.
One of those characters is the creature itself as the work from creature effects artist Michael McCraken genuinely stands out adding layers to the terror that these people are uncovering.
For a last minute replacement, David Allen Brooks was a solid lead as we get spun further and further down this ethical rabbit hole that these scientists are exploring and he makes for a good moral compass in this world. Supporting players like Amanda Pays and Talia Balsam add some colour but it’s truly the presence of legends in Kim Hunter and Rod Steiger that give this all some genuine emotional gravitas as we are ducking the slime and the monsters that are being thrown at the screen.
The picture and sound on this new 4K scan of the unrated version of the film looks pretty darn good with minimal noise and solid colours and blacks throughout. Along with a new 5.1 audio mix it’s never sounded better.
The special features include a 52 minute behind the scenes, making of documentary which really goes into detail with the history of the film. There’s also a special compilation of creature effect artist Michael McCraken’s never before seen on-set footage as well as a still gallery, storyboards, the original theatrical trailer and TV spots.
While it’s more of a cult entry into the canon of the genre, The Kindred succeeds thanks to some solid storytelling, well written characters and execution that knew to give just as much time to the actors as they did to the creatures.