Beloved actress Fiona Shaw has been keeping busy in recent years, thanks to turns in everything from “Killing Eve” to the upcoming historical drama “Ammonite,” but few of the BAFTA-winning star’s roles feel quite so delightfully suited for her than her starring work in Joe Marcantonio’s upcoming psychological horror thriller “Kindred.” In the film, which also stars rising talents Tamara Lawrance and Jack Lowden, Shaw gets to make a meal out of the kind of part she was born to play: nutty mother-in-law of your nightmares.
The film follows Lawrance as Charlotte, a young Brit stunned by the one-two punch of learning she’s pregnant and losing her beloved boyfriend soon after. Shaken to her core and without much support in the English countryside she’s desperate to get out of, Charlotte gets tangled up with her dead partner’s creepy family, who are a little too excited about the impending birth.
That includes Shaw as scary mommy Margaret, who tips between general know-it-all-ness and something far more sinister. And when Margaret and her off-kilter stepson Thomas (Lowden, adding a new dimension to his work) manage to trap Charlotte in their sprawling mansion, any sense of good manners goes right out the window. In short, Shaw has a lot of fun playing a very scary lady, and “Kindred” is all the better for it.
Per the film’s official synopsis: “When her boyfriend Ben suddenly dies in an accident, mother-to-be Charlotte (Tamara Lawrance, Steve McQueen’s ‘Small Axe: Education’) collapses upon receiving the news. She wakes up in Ben’s family home, a crumbling old manor house in the middle of nowhere with Ben’s overbearing mother, Margaret (Fiona Shaw, ‘Killing Eve’), and his controlling stepbrother, Thomas (Jack Lowden, ‘Dunkirk’). They are determined to care for her, at least until the baby arrives. Grief-stricken and increasingly haunted by visions possibly brought on by the pregnancy, Charlotte accepts their help. But as the days go by and her visions intensify, she begins to doubt the family’s intentions and her suspicions grow that they may be trying to control her and her unborn baby.”
The film is Marcantonio’s feature debut (he also co-wrote the film alongside Jason McColgan) and the filmmaker, who has already crafted a number of impressive shorts (including one starring perpetual favorite Jessie Buckley), shows a real knack for weaving classic horror stories with an unexpected edge. You may think you know what happens in “Kindred,” but the film has a few artful tricks up its sleeve.
IFC Midnight will release “Kindred” in select theaters and on digital and VOD on Friday, November 6. Check out the film’s first trailer below.