The Kindred (1987) **
D: Stephen Carpenter, Jeffrey Obrow
C: Rod Steiger, Kim Hunter, David Allen Brooks, Amanda Pays, Talia Balsam, Timothy Gibbs, Peter Frechette, Julia Montgomery
P: After informing her son that she has created a genetically engineered brother, a dying scientist (Hunter) pleads with her son to return to his childhood home to destroy The Anthony Journals, but a rival scientist (Steiger) wants to get his hands on them for himself.
In The Kindred, there's a memorable set piece involving a watermelon giving birth to some kind of genetic monstrosity. There's also another effective scene in which Rod Steiger's character reveals his laboratory to thug looking to collect on payment. Speaking of Rod Steiger, I can probably in all honesty say that he took on this film for a paycheck, but he is a treat to watch as he chews on the film's scenery. Amanda Pays also stands out. She brings a certain level of class to the film's proceedings. Ditto that for Kim Hunter as well, albeit in a performance that's all too brief.
The Kindred starts out well enough. There's an above average cast. Some icky special effects. The promise of an alien type creature waiting to strike at a moments notice. There's even some scientific mumbo jumbo thrown in for good measure, but then somewhere along the line, it all falls apart. Initially, the film promises to be some kind of horror / sci-fi hybrid, but then it shifts gears to throw in some action as well.
A scene in which a man is attacked in a barn has a much more distinctively action type feel to it rather then sci-fi or horror. Even the scoring of this scene has a much more rousing type quality to it to imply action rather then horror or dread or anticipation. This throws off the film's initial set-up and everything else that follows.
Eventually, the film returns to its horror / sci-fi roots in order to kill off two of the main characters. One of these scenes is gruesomely effective, while the other gets lost in a sea of special effects. For the film's grand finale, the film switches gears yet again to incorporate action film elements. Whatever promise The Kindred initially showed is lost in confused storytelling that lacks a decisive tone. [R] 91 mins.
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