Next of Kin (1982)
By: Devon B. on July 9, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Reel (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 2.0. English Subtitles. 85 minutes
The Movie
Director: Tony Williams
Starring: Jackie Kerin, John Jarret, Alex Scott, Gerda Nicolson, Charles McCallum, Bernadette Gibson
Screenplay: Michael Heath, Tony Williams
Music: Klause Shulze
Tagline: There is something evil in this house
Country: Australia
Prior to watching Wolf Creek, I'd never seen John Jarratt. His performance was very impressive, so I decided that, in future, I wouldn't avoid his movies. Not to imply I decided to check out everything he'd ever been in, but I certainly had taken note of him as an actor. Next of Kin is the second movie I've seen with Jarratt in it (third if you count that episode of Inspector Morse as a TV movie), and it may have put me right off him.

My hopes for Next of Kin were not high after I'd put the disc in and was greeted by the crappy as fuck disc menu. I'm not one to rate a DVD solely on the value of its menus, and indeed menus can be overdone, but Next of Kin's menu makes those from the Diamond DVDs look like high art. I didn't think it would be safe to judge the film on menu alone, though, so I pressed play.

A woman has inherited her mother's estate, including a large house in a rural area. The house doubles as a home for the elderly, but the woman is unsure what she wants to do with the property. While trying to figure out what to do, strange and eerie things begin happening, and I'm not just talking about Jarratt's chin making its entrance. It takes nearly a quarter of the film's run time before anything REALLY happens, and even that's just some old guy dying, which isn't really so odd given the film's set in an old folks' home.

Next of Kin is a bit jumpy at times, but is very slowly paced. It seems like the film is attempting to build and build, but the viewer has to be able to stay awake in order to get built up. I'm not against slow burns per se, but this is way too slow to ignite, and the finale is neither a surprise or very hot. And while a home for the elderly isn't necessarily a bad setting for a horror film, I quite enjoyed Bubba Ho-Tep for example, it fails here.

Next of Kin is quite gothic at times, but just because you're going gothic doesn't mean you need to use a plot from a hundred years ago, and Next of Kin is essentially a re-tooling of Jane Eyre. My God, I've mentioned Morse, Bubba Ho-Tep, and Jane Eyre in a single review. What sort of mixed up, pathetic nerd am I? At least I'm not nerdy enough to LIKE Next of Kin; I'll leave that for Quentin Tarantino.
The film looks drab with bleak colours, but perhaps this is intentional. Not that I think much work was done on the print. The film suffers spots, dirt (at times very heavy), grain, trailing, and the overall image is soft.
While there are a few good uses of sound, I think this is due to the film, and not the 2.0 mix provided here. There is some "s" hiss, but otherwise the dialogue is mostly clear.
Extra Features
Sweet f.a.
The Verdict
There are a few good, stylish moments, but none of them make Next of Kin worth sitting through. The film isn't the worst thing I've ever seen, but it's not terribly interesting, and this release is in no way noteworthy.
Movie Score
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