Written by Chris Sivertson
Directed by Lucky McKee
Nicole is a kookie, head-strong high school kid on the brink of graduation. She’s a responsible young woman and is fast growing apart form her mother, Chloe. When her Aunt Sadie makes a surprise return, her teenage heart almost skips a beat she’s so thrilled to see her. She’s much younger than her sister Chloe, but at almost 25, she’s much older than her niece. Here the story subverts expectations when the natural pairing, akin to the giddy excitement of girlfriends at a sleep over, is between Nicole and Sadie – at the expense of mom left out in the cold. An awkward family dynamic soon breaks down because of a troubling resentment that bubbles just beneath Sadie’s smiley veneer. Unfortunately, no one gets to suss it out before it’s too late.
Sasha Fralova is excellent as Nicole, but it is Macon Blair who stands out as Alex. He’s the progressive, single dad trying to make his relationship work with Chloe without needlessly distressing the kids caught in the cross-fire of witnessing their parents muddle through dating and falling in love again. This softer male character who appears in control and respects his daughter’s needs as much as his own - without complaint - is a refreshing change to the head up his ass, disorganised single dad we are used to seeing.
KINDRED SPIRITS is a strange kind of thriller. One that is enthralling and obtuse while Sadie ramps up the weirdness and misery, but once it’s about stopping her, it all falls together too easily for Nicole/Chloe. The film lacks the confident satire of ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE or the visceral confrontation of THE WOMAN – two of director Lucky McKee’s previous films. It’s a shame because in the opening exchanges with Nicole in school you feel you’ve got a real outlier character on your hands, but when she’s confined to the safety of her home that fuck you to the world attitude doesn’t manifest or reverberate so loudly.