‘There’s no place like home, bloody home.’
Next of Kin is a 1982 Australian horror feature film directed by New Zealander Tony Williams from a screenplay co-written with Michael Heath. The movie stars Jacki Kerin, John Jarratt, and Alex Scott.
The movie featured in the documentary Not Quite Hollywood where it was praised by Quentin Tarantino.
On 24 September 2018, Severin Films revealed on Facebook that Next of Kin is slated for a Blu-ray release in 2019.
Linda Stevens (Jacki Kerin) inherits Montclare, a country mansion which was turned into a retirement home by her late mother and her sister, Aunt Rita. Strange events described in her mother’s diaries – lights and taps turning on by themselves, voices in the night – seem to be recurring. Linda suspects long-serving Montclare housekeeper Connie (Gerda Nicolson) and local physician Dr. Barton (Alex Scott) of hiding details of Montclare’s finances and the death of Aunt Rita. Turning to boyfriend Barney (John Jarratt) for help, Linda attempts to unlock the mysteries of the mansion…
“Although it doesn’t quite deliver the full-blown terror the patient build-up promises, and the old folks in the house are used mainly for hit-and-miss comic effect, Next of Kin is a nifty little film with a consistently uneasy ambience and sturdy work by a cast including Jacki Kerin and a young John Jarratt of Wolf Creek (2005) fame. Technically polished and highly imaginative…” Richard Kuipers, Australian Screen
“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.” Devon B., Digital Retribution
“Linda unravels the mystery of Montclare at a less than breakneck speed, but ultimately, if you have patience, it works. As an audience we are drawn into her quiet, waking nightmare. The slow pacing is easily forgiven, as the premise is so intriguing and director, Tony Williams, imbues the film with a creepy feeling of dread throughout. Also, Next of Kin has one hell of a payoff.” Hysteria Lives!
“Certainly, Next of Kin is directed with a good deal more atmosphere than usual for a slasher film – like the moment when Charles McCallum unwittingly steps on a drowned face as he goes to get into the bath, or the image of an eye being stabbed through a keyhole. However, the reliance on an elliptical story, which unfolds slackly, makes Next of Kin slow moving. An inexpressive electronic score does not help either.” Richard Scheib, Moria
“It sounds like a decent, suspenseful little movie the way I describe it, doesn’t it? Well don’t let me fool you. It should have been, but it is prevented from turning into one by a number of poor scripting and directorial decisions […] The tone is so low-key during the first three quarters of the film that we in the audience can’t for the life of us understand why Linda is becoming so alarmed at the goings-on in the old mansion.” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting
“It’s definitely a movie on the slow simmer but once you cotton on to the giallo roots then you are good as gold, assuming you can dance to the giallo beat […] There’s some sidetracking to be got through, just what did happen to Carol, but Williams leaves nothing unanswered and adds in enough relish to keep fans of quiet horror happy with their viewing decision.” Scary Minds
“Well-crafted, with decent production values and a delicately slow pace, this ghost-cum-slasher film explodes in the final third, with all the events of the past catching up with the amiable leading lady. Worth seeking out.” The Terror Trap
“Atmosphere plays the best role here though, with some top notch cinematography making the most of its creepy old house setting. Taps run on their own and garden fountains spurt blood, and there’s a lot of rain! A bit of a lost classic and deserving of a revival; Next of Kin is a neat gothic mystery where the clue is in the title!” Tina Aumont’s Eyes
“Director Tony Williams tosses in a bunch of quotes from films and literature in an apparent attempt to elevate the proceedings, but proves yet again that the evocation of great artists’ names and works does not guarantee a film of the same quality.” TV Guide
“Moments familiar from Halloween, The Shining, and Psycho help with the somewhat rushed climax (where the sound of the running down the halls is used to great effect). The finale goes a bit awry although Linda finally kicks-ass, there are still several loose ends that are never made any tighter, but this is one little gem that has somehow remained out of circulation for a while.” Hudson Lee, Vegan Voorhees
Cast and characters:
- Jacki Kerin … Linda
- John Jarratt … Barney – Boar; StalkHer; Wolf Creek and sequel; TV series; Needle; Dark Age
- Alex Scott … Doctor Barton – The Abominable Dr. Phibes; Twins of Evil; The Asphyx
- Gerda Nicolson … Connie
- Charles McCallum … Lance
- Bernadette Gibson … Rita / Mrs Ryan
- Robert Ratti … Kelvin
- Vince Deltito … Nico
- Tommy Dysart … Harry
- Debra Lawrance … Carol
- Kristine Marshall … Linda – aged four
- Simon Thorpe … CFA Speaker
- David Allshorn … Service Club Man
- Alan Rowe … Service Club Man
- Matt Burns … Mr. Collins
Clarkefield, Melbourne and Sydenham, Victoria, Australia
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