Next of Kin (1984)

NEXT OF KIN (1984)
Article 3899 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-7-2012
Posting Date: 4-17-2012
Directed by Tony Williams
Featuring Jacki Kerin, John Jarratt, Alex Scott
Country: Australia / New Zealand
What it is: Unusual horror thriller

A young woman inherits an estate that has been converted to a rest home. However, she begins to find that events occurring on the estate are very familiar to those in her mother’s diary… and that the place holds a terrible secret.

I found this movie on YouTube, though I notice that the running time is a couple of minutes short of the time on IMDB. I mention this because this is the type of movie where a couple of missing minutes may actually matter a great deal in the enjoyment of the movie. The movie unfolds very slowly, almost like a character piece; it isn’t until the final third that it becomes a full-blown horror movie. Still, the movie does an impressive job of keeping an eerie atmosphere going even when nothing is explicitly happening; in particular, I like the way it uses water and water motifs to add to the sense of unease. My initial reaction after I finished watching the movie was that the first two-thirds of the movie doesn’t adequately prepare you for the horror of the final third, which initially feels like it comes out of nowhere. However, upon reflection, I sense it isn’t coming out of nowhere, and the user comments reflect that the mystery aspects of the story are as important as the horror aspects. This is why the missing two minutes could be important; since the movie doesn’t hand you information on a plate but makes you pay attention and put the pieces together, those missing two minutes could be crucial. At any rate, I’ll say this; though I can’t say I was totally satisfied with this one on first viewing, it is one of those movies that could indeed get better with a second viewing, and it’s interesting enough that I might just give it one one of these days.

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