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– by Daniel Tafoya

We all have that one relative. The one that’s a little off, who gets whispered about at family gatherings. Well, in Kindred Spirits, that relative is Aunt Sadie, and boy oh boy, is she a handful.

Sadie returns from a year away from her sister Chloe and niece Nicole. She’s welcomed back with open arms by the latter and somewhat warily by the former. Nicole and Sadie become fast friends again, and it’s only days before Sadie starts going to high school parties with her and even wears a wig to look like her. If you think that’s kooky behavior, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Sadie insidiously inserts herself into her niece’s life and it’s not long before she brings death and destruction with her.

Chloe is none the wiser to the aforementioned happenings, and even sides with Sadie, as her relationship with her daughter is testy and strained. Chloe’s life is not to go untouched for long though, by Sadie’s craziness. Chloe has been sleeping with one of her daughter’s friend’s fathers, and this relationship gets exposed and caught up in the maelstrom of terror wrought by Sadie. At the end of the day, we wait to see if Sadie will get caught and pay the price for her evil acts or if somehow, she’ll get away with it all, including murder.

Australian actress Caitlin Stasey plays Aunt Sadie, and her performance is a revelation. Shown to be mentally off-kilter almost immediately, she still portrays innocence when called upon, and you can see why the other characters would believe her lies. Stasey plays both sides well, and one is not at all surprised to see others fall under her spell, especially men. Stasey as Sadie is seductive and new, and it’s no wonder she has all the high school boys in the movie wrapped around her little finger. The movie has strong echoes of Single White Female, and I’d put Stasey’s unhinged performance right up there with Jennifer Jason Leigh’s in said movie, in terms of quality.

The filmmakers behind the movie are quite familiar to horror fans. Lucky McKee (The Woman, May) directs and Chris Sivertson (I Know Who Killed Me, All Cheerleaders Die) wrote the screenplay. They’ve collaborated before in horror, and while this has tinges of the genre, it is far more of a thriller, and a quality one at that.

Besides Single White Female, the film is also influenced by Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt. Though an aunt is subbed in for that movie’s uncle, it’s very clear from the relationship with the niece, that, from the get-go, Kindred Spirits is operating in similar territory. Acquitting itself well in comparison to both of these other thrillers, it’s one to check out if and/or when it hits cinemas near you.

Recommended if you liked: Single White Female, Psycho, Shadow of a Doubt

FINAL GRADE: B+

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