CFF 2019: Lucky McKee’s KINDRED SPIRITS is Mischievous with a Hint of Gore

A kindred spirit, by definition, is a person whose interests or attitudes are similar to one’s own. When you want to be like someone and want what they have and you’re overly determined to get that, you will do whatever you want to achieve that end goal. This is exactly what Lucky McKee’s new indie thriller Kindred Spirits is about.

Chloe (Thora Birch) is a single mother raising a brazen daughter, Nicole (Sasha Frolova) on the verge of her 18th birthday. Their lives are thrown for a loop once Chloe’s younger sister, Sadie (Caitlin Stasey) randomly reappears in their lives. Nicole always admired Sadie and was closer to her than her own mother. Sadie saved Nicole’s life when she was almost struck by a car. Naturally with Sadie’s arrival, Nicole is more than excited to be with her. Following a school suspension, Chloe allows Nicole to have a social life with Sadie. This gives Chloe more of an opportunity to continue her fling with Nicole’s best friend’s father Alex (Macon Blair).

Sadie’s spontaneous arrival was originally widely accepted and all was well. After Nicole showed Sadie some of her memorabilia from her youth, Sadie reveled in the nostalgia and a switch flipped almost instantly. Even though there was about a 7 year difference between Nicole and Sadie, Sadie started to try and emulate everything Nicole did from hair to wardrobe even down to age, mentally. Nicole accepted this since she was so enamored by her aunt. After Sadie starts causing commotion by intertwining personal secrets to Nicole’s family and friends, we see the envious side of Sadie. She doesn’t want anyone near her sister and she’ll do whatever it takes to have her and only her.

The cast in this seems perfectly chosen. Not a single character was misplaced. Sasha Frolova broadcasts teen angst and I can’t wait to see what she’s got next, which looks like to be Greta Gerwig’s Little Women. Caitlin Stasey flips from vile to angel in a matter of seconds and she does this so effortlessly that it’s scary at many times throughout the film. Couldn’t speak more highly for everyone else. I loved seeing Thora Birch and Macon Blair in the throws of a secretive love affair and only wanted the best for them.

Kindred Spirits has a dose of Single White Female and Heavenly Creatures sprinkled all throughout it. Two female leads with dark tendencies, one more so than the other. The whimsical score helps us realize that there is something disturbingly wrong with Sadie’s mental state. Once the manipulative temperament of Sadie kicks in high gear, anyone in her way is going to pay. In spite of that, we never get complete answers. Majority of the time I kept asking why? Why does she want to do this? Is there something really wrong with her? What happened to her before coming back home? These are things I feel are detrimental to knowing, if you’re dealing with some kind of mental issue of a character. We don’t find out much past about Sadie and that hinders her storyline. From the outside we just think she’s crazy, but it’s a little irking to see mental disabilities on screen like this in a trope that they’re just looney without anything to back up that claim. We see vague flashbacks to Nicole and Sadie’s one youthful flock through the woods but it isn’t enough substance for the subject matter.

Lucky McKee’s new filmography addition is enjoyable to watch and I did relish in its devious storyline. Unfortunately, too many unanswered questions leaves this viewer pondering and wanting more umph. Kindred Spirits is mischievous with a hint of gore that you won’t want to turn your eyes from.

Rachael Hauschild
Resident Animal Doctor / Scream Queen
Rachael was born and raised outside of Philadelphia and has lived there her whole life. Movies took over her life after graduating from college. Horror, indies, and classic Hollywood are her favorite genres. If she's not watching a movie, she's most likely traveling, attending a film festival somewhere in the US, watching hockey, or doing her full time job of reception/social media coordinator at an animal hospital outside of Philly.
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