Jamie Patterson’s latest film, The Kindred, ends with the aim of mirroring oft-repeated familial patterns, attempting to make a point about how family circles back to define individual perception.
The terror inherent within dysfunctional familial dynamics makes for a compelling subject matter in horror, as evidenced via The Shining and the original Hellraiser. In case you have not watched The Kindred yet, turn back, as there are spoilers ahead.
The Kindred revolves around Helen (April Pearson), who suffers from selective amnesia after a year-long coma, during which, she manages to give birth to a child. On the night of her accident, Helen experiences inexplicable trauma, further exacerbated by the suicide of her father, who jumps off the building right in front of her.
Unable to process the presence of her child, whilst struggling with what it really means to be a mother, Helen is haunted by the past to the point that she is hounded by apparitions of ghost children, leading her to question the legacy of her father.
The ending of The Kindred is anticlimactic and frustrating on many levels. The series of events that lead to Helen deciding to jump off the balcony just like her father are not only unconvincingly contrived but are wholly unnecessary, as her child, Heidi, is safe and alive. While many plot points within the film do not pay off the way in which they are intended, The Kindred does leave certain questions lingering, adding to the absurd aura that encircles the ending.
The Kindred Ending Explained – Who are the ghost children that haunt Helen?
The brief appearances of the creepy ghost children in the first half of the narrative are perhaps, among the scariest parts of The Kindred, which is devoid of any terror otherwise. After she moves into her father’s home, Helen experiences these hauntings in broad daylight, forcing her to enlist the aid of a paranormal expert, who provides her with a list of children’s names via auto writing. On further investigation, it is revealed that all of these children were linked to a grotesque mass child disappearance case in the 1980s.
At this juncture, the plot pivots into a detective investigation of sorts, wherein Helen assumes an active role, connecting the disappearance of the children to that of her father. On meeting up with the family of the missing kids, along with former detective Burrows (Samantha Bond), Helen arrived at the conclusion that the dreaded figure of the hooded man was, in fact, her father.
Keeping this in mind, it makes sense that the ghost children haunted Helen, possibly with the intention of attracting her attention, so that she could bring them to justice. However, over time, it is revealed that her father’s friend, Frank (James Cosmo), was the real killer all along, and is Helen’s biological father, and her adoptive father was also an accomplice to the crimes committed.
The Kindred ending explained: Is Helen’s fate justified?
After Helen realizes that Frank is her real father, she regains memory of the fateful night – her adoptive father, Robert, overwhelmed by guilt, had confessed to his part in the crimes committed, while relaying her true parentage to her. The weight of this confession had taken a toll on both of them, as a terrified Helen met with an accident right after this event, and a remorseful Robert took his own life.
Unbeknownst to Helen, Frank still continued the cycle of violence by abducting children in the present and proceeding to kill them, all of which he confesses to Helen, who is horrified by the truth. Asking her to join him by appealing to the blood they share, Frank taunts Helen about the burden of familial ties, and the pull of destiny, which bounds personal hells together. When Helen refuses, he attacks her before revealing that he has kidnapped Heidi, but is eventually killed by her in self-defense.
With Heidi still missing, a shellshocked Helen venture back to the same spot in the balcony where Robert had jumped off, completing the ouroboros of pain and suffering. This, however, feels completely unjustified in the larger scheme of things, as Heidi is recovered by the police shortly after. While the tendrils of guilt are passed on by blood, Helen did not have to die for the sins of her father, especially when she had a hopeful future with Heidi within her grasp all this while.