Next of Kin (1982) Blu-ray Review

Given high-praise by Quentin Tarantino in the documentary Not Quite Hollywood, Tony Williams’ Ozploitation cult classic finally gets a UK Blu-ray release courtesy of Second Sight.

Following the death of her mother, Linda Stevens (Jacki Kerin) finds herself returning to her old hometown, and the new owner of a retirement community, Montclare estate. Unsure what to do with the property, Linda spends some time in the scenic location with her Aunt Rita and does her best to settle into a routine. Sorting through her late mother’s belongings, Linda discovers a wealth of old documents and a diary that at first offers possible comfort for her grief but sends her spiralling into a haunting mystery.

The stacks of old papers and the worrying entries in the diary only serve to destabilise Linda’s state of mind, Aside from the company of an old boyfriend (Wolf Creek’s John Jarratt), Linda struggles to feel at home in her once familiar surroundings, and the isolated setting does little to help. As Linda attempts to piece together what is happening to the residents, her sanity is pushed to breaking point.

Unfairly dubbed a run of the mill slasher by some critics, Next of Kin if anything but routine. Tony Williams’ off-kilter tone and style are used to tremendously unnerving effect, using hysteria infused slow-burn tension mixed with splashes of nightmarish imaginary to bombard the senses. The excellent synth score from Klaus Schulze adds an extra layer to the atmosphere; John Carpenter fans will certainly approve. The slow-pace gives way to an explosive finally, that while predictable in its revelations, it doesn’t disappoint.

1982 was a vintage year for Hollywood movies, Blade Runner, E.T, Poltergeist, Tron, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, and of course, Grease 2. While Next of Kin didn’t leave the same impact on pop culture, it’s a gem of a film that deserves its place alongside the horror classics that defined the 80s. Much like fellow under-seen Ozploitation cult classic The Long Weekend, it is ripe for revisiting, and the Blu-ray is jam-packed with unmissable special features.

Next of Kin is released on Blu-ray March 25.

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