Next Of Kin - Next Of Kin( Blu Ray) [Severin - 2019]From the early 1980s Next Of Kin is an Australian thriller/ low key horror film that rather nicely pre-dates the recent spate of Post Horror films, with it ís often subtle and subdued use of the genres tropes. Here from Severin is a recent Blu Ray issue of the film- that featuring a new 2k scan, and a good batch of extras.
Next Of Kin appeared in 1982, and was the second & last feature film from New Zealand director Tony Williams- who is mostly known for his documentary work- like 1975ís Lost In The Garden Of The World, 2013ís A place Called Robertson, 2014ís The King Sun: John Olsen a Portrait at 85, and most recently 2018ís The Passion of Music- about a Australian chamber orchestra.
The film's plot finds Linda (Jacki Kerin) been given a rural nursing home in her mothers will, and coming to terms with her past. Shortly after moving in she uncovers discrepancies in the homes running, and residents start to pass away in strange manners- and we start wondering if there ís a killer in the home, or is it Linda unbalanced state of mind. Into this, we get Shifty local Doctor( Alex Scott), stern home manager Connie(Gerda Nicolson), and her local boyfriend Barney- an early role from John Jarratt, who of course went onto find worldwide fame in his role as Serial killing Mick Taylor in the Wolf Creek films.
Next Of Kin is a very, very slow build of a film- for the first three-quarters of the film we get a darkly tinged & moody thriller/ drama, itís only in the last twenty minutes that things finally click into true horror- and even then, these elements are fairly fleeting. Much of the picture's runtime is built around: Linda reading from her mothers diary. dramatic encounters between Linda, the homes residents, the homes manager, and local Dr. The well shot & subtle eerier shots of the old house that the home is located in, symbolism-heavy & at times in darkly surreal imagery, and shots of the isolation surrounding countryside & its rundown buildings. Throughout the film teases that itís going to suddenly turn horrific, but as mentioned early- it doesnít really do so until the films last gasp. Itís certainly a very shot & acted film, with Williams building the films creepiness in a most reserved & subdued manner- the whole things effectively scored by Klaus Schulze- and this brings together sparse & stark percussive elements, with moody synth throbs & stabs.
As a mentioned in my introduction Next Of Kin is very similar in its tone, make-up & unfold to many of the films that have been bracketed under the banner of Post Horror- films like The Witch, They Come At Night, The Babadook & Hereditary. Sadly Iím not a fan of the Post Horror genre, often finding many of the films in the genre watering down their horror elements so much, that really they only have very vague connections to the genre. So, as a result, I found Next Of Kin somewhat of a trial to sit though- sure I like building tension & atmosphere in my horror, but here itís mostly so low key that it barely registers- leaving one feeling rather bored & disinterested for much of the film's runtime.
Moving onto to this new Blu Ray issue of the film. First off the new print looks great, really highlighting the films brooding & arty edges- the audio also very good, with Schulzeís moody soundtrack really hitting home. Extras wise we get a good selection- first off we get two commentary tracks- the first is with director Tony Williams and Producer Tim White- this focuses more on the production side of things, moving from discussing the origins of the film, going onto talk about shot decision, the crew, and cast, locations & more- itís certainly a very informative track, and really if your interested in behind the camera stuff will be of great interest. The second track brings together Mark Hartley, who directed the Austrian genre film doc Not Quite Hollywood, and heís joined by three of the film's cast Jackie Kerin, John Jarrett & Robert Ratti- I found this track was a lot more enjoyable & chatty, with the actors talking about how each of their roles, early acting roles, and onset stories- we also get nice observations & points from Hartley. Next, we get a ten-minute revisit to the house where the film was set. A twenty-five-minute snippet from Not Quite Hollywood, talking about Next Of Kin. We get a thirty-minute black & white early documentary film from Williams, deleted scenes, Alternate German Opening credits & german trailer. Image gallery, and reversible sleeve- with two different film poster artwork. So all in all, a good batch of stuff.
So in conclusion if you enjoy extremely slow burning thrillers/ dramas with very reserved horror elements, or of course the post horror genre- Iím sure youíll enjoy Next Of Kin- and Severin have done a great job on both the new scan & extrasÖ.but for this old school horror fan it was just all too tame & slowRoger Batty