HorrorFuel.com Talks With The Director And The Star Of ‘The Kindred’

January 14, 2022

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely - Horror Fuel CEO & Executive Producer Email: [email protected]

After watching the new indie horror film The Kindred (review), I sat down to talk with its director Jamie Patterson and April Pearson, because I had to learn more about this terrific, dark, and disturbing film that follows a woman (Pearson) suffering from amnesia who pieces together the events that led to her father’s suicide, only to be haunted by the ghosts of children that she begins to suspect were murdered.



Pearson not only gives an incredible performance as the lead actress, Helen, but she also serves as executive producer for The Kindred along with Patterson.


Star/Exec Producer April Pearson Credit: Vertical Entertainment



Kelli M. McNeely: “I have to tell you, I loved The Kindred. I used words like “fantastic” more than once in my review. I rarely get this excited about a film these days.”


April: “Thank you.”


Jamie: “Oh, that’s really good. It would have been really awkward if you thought it was terrible and you were like, ‘I hate your film.’ [laughter].”


Kelli M. McNeely: “Believe it or not, I’ve been in that situation before, and let me tell you, it is awkward as hell [laughter], but that’s certainly not the case here. As I said it was fantastic!”


Jamie: “Oh, great. Thank you. The fact that we shot it in about ten days, oh, twelve days, with effects, all on location, I think that might have made it easy.”


April: “We just didn’t have time to think about it. We just had to get one with it and do it.”


Jamie: “I think that helped. We only did two to three takes. On most of the movies I’ve been involved with we only do two or three takes.”


The movie is pretty much dark from start to finish. There’s not really a laugh in it, you know? There’s not really a light moment in the entire movie. I think because you’re constantly in that zone that makes it easier for the performers.”


Director Jamie Petterson Credit: Vertical Entertainment


April: “I think it was just about having to do the work beforehand, before the shoot. And figure how those emotional states were going to be conveyed on screen. Then just trying as far as possible to stick to that under the constraints that Jamie has already mentioned. And just hoping that that emotion comes across, which I think we managed to achieve.”


Kelli M. McNeely: “Oh, you definitely did get it across. The whole film is intense.”


April: “It’s still intense.”


Kelli M. McNeely: “Yes it is. How do you get into that dark mode?”


Jamie: “I think it helped that a lot of it was in the script. We had a really good script. The actors, all of them, were able to reach out to the writer Chris [Hearn]. So again, we were so lucky that we had such a great cast. That they were able to bring their A-game to the table without any rehearsals. All of the actors- Cosmo, who we had for three days, Samantha we had for one and a half days – I kind of think we were able to get that because of such wonderful actors. The actors just got it. We didn’t necessarily have time to go on the date, “What’s my motivation?” We didn’t have any time you’re just like, ‘walk from here to there.’ It was very hectic. I think that was it, I had conversations with all the actors before started and so much of it was on the page.


Me and April get to talk about it every day. We were working on it for years, so we kind of knew the project quite well. That really helped.”


Kelli M. McNeely “And you’re right, the cast is fantastic!


Kelli M. McNeely: “How would you describe this film to someone who has not seen it or the trailer?


Jamie: “I’ll let you take this one.”


April: “It’s a really hard one because, um, there’s so much, it’s so dense in terms of the plot, but essentially I would say it’s about a woman who’s suffering from amnesia who is trying to find out the reason why her father committed suicide, um, and being a new mum, and all of that, everything that kind of entails. And she becomes a private investigator and she’s haunted by ghostly children.


Jamie: “This is one of those films where like it’s not a traditional horror or anything. It’s got that detective element to it. We open with a bang. I dunno if that’s necessarily what people expect going into the movie, but that’s certainly something we worked really hard on, you know, it’s a slow burner sort of. It kind of goes into this detective supernatural-type movie. Um, so yeah, it is a hard one to describe like in a paragraph. I think you did a pretty good job, April.”


Kelli M. McNeely: “I wasn’t really expecting the paranormal aspect of the movie, so that was surprising and I think it worked out really well. I think it combines a lot of subgenres that somehow work out wonderfully. I think horror fans are going to love it.

Is it difficult to get the kids to, to kind of portray those dark entities?”


Jamie: “Very much so yeah. It’s because you’ve gotta be careful with what you say and what you do and you know, we don’t want the kids to get scared. And obviously, it’s a movie and it’s not real, but you know, you want to make everyone feel safe and comfortable. So, you are having to shoot elements and then you’re having to take the kids off the set to shoot other elements, which could potentially scare them. So,  the toughest thing with that is certainly scheduled-wise, you know, it just eats into your schedule.”


April: “And then they obviously don’t understand that there is a schedule. So, you know, once Jamie said action, they have to do the thing we told them to do. And often there’s just no getting them to do it. There was one kid who just wanted to make faces at the camera, which is fine, but he’s supposed to be like a dead child covered in dirt and it just didn’t work. So yeah. You know, there’s the having time to like allow for that is something that we just didn’t have the luxury of. But they were all really into it. Weren’t they?”


Jamie: “It’s fun to them, but  I think it’s fun for a certain amount of time as well. And then, you know, not just kids, but everyone gets tired and the longer the days go on, it’s kind of like one more take. But they were all amazing. And, yeah they were relatively easy to work with, but it would just eat into our schedule. That was the hard thing with that.


Kelli M. McNeely: “April, what was it like to appear in the film, but also be involved in the making of it?”


April: “I think, for me, I just don’t get the luxury of jobs like this coming my way, kind of ever. So it was almost a necessity for me to be part of it. Um, they would cast someone else frankly. And it may have been an easier sell if I wasn’t in the lead. So, everyone kind of took a big gamble on agreeing to put me there. And I just think I relished the acting side of it because I could really flex my acting muscle. There was such a lot to do in the movie. And I just haven’t been given that opportunity before, but then of course,  as any producer will tell you, you end up looking at that same movie for two years after you’ve wrapped and are finding bits you want to change and picking holes and stuff. And so you’ve become so far removed from the experience of it as an actor. I can’t watch the movie now and just see it as a piece of work like that.”


Kelli M. McNeely: You were incredible in it. My heart broke for Helen. You did a damn fine job.
I don’t think anything needs to be changed. I mean,  I watch a lot of movies, I mean a lot, and for me to enjoy a movie, that’s a big thing. I love the way it unfolds. I love the intensity of it and, you know, the entire cast is fantastic, including you April and James Cosmo, I’ve been a fan of his since Braveheart.”



Jamie: “I think it’ll find its audience over time. I think some people will see it for what it is and really appreciate the pacing of it and the performance element to it. And the fact that it isn’t sort of a gore fest or, you know, it’s not torture porn. It’s its own thing. When it comes to horror, maybe it won’t be for them, but it’s certainly a film we’re very proud of. And we worked really hard when it comes to the pacing of it. So yeah, we are proud of it on this.”


April: “Yeah. And as you say, I think having a British cast like this altogether, who you know, makes an amazing ensemble. It is something that I haven’t seen for a long time in this kind of genre.”


Kelli M. McNeely: “Right. What was it about the script that drew you to it initially?


April: “It was almost an ego thing. I was like, I wanna be a lead in a movie and this is a really interesting female-led story. And I just really wanted the opportunity to kind of get my teeth into it. And I loved the kind of twisty turn storyline and I thought I could have a go at it really. Yeah.


I think it, what I really liked about it was it felt like we hadn’t seen this type of movie come out of the UK that often, I think a few years ago we might have, but it felt, you know, it wasn’t in the middle of the woods or anything like that. We liked that it was in a block of flats in London, you know? I liked the investigative side of it, the thriller element to it. It just felt, I dunno, interesting to me. There was just so much about it that just connected with us, you know? We’ve been attached for six or seven years to it.”


Jamie: “For a good couple of years. It was gonna happen in America, but you know, everything happens for a reason and, you know, we worked in Parkhouse on it and they were great. I just feel like it’s a, it’s a different film to come out of the UK indie scene. You know, it’s not, gangsters and doing all of this, it’s not a period drama. And I think for that, we’re very, very proud of it. So I think that’s what certainly appeals to me as well. Just, it felt a bit different.”


Kelli M. McNeely: “You know, it’s even different for us here in the US. It combines so many subgenres and I mean, we get a lot of cabin in the woods type movies and women falling and women tripping over stuff. I can’t stand that, by the way. It’s nice to have a character that isn’t stupid, that isn’t, you know, falling over. It’s got heart and it’s got intelligence and it’s got the creepy stuff too. It also has that crime/mystery element thing going on.”


Jamie: “Thank you. You always have that slight fear of, you know, in the streaming world that we live in, that people give you like three minutes to impress them before they hit back and then they go and watch another one. So it was like we were aware that was gonna be quite tricky with the movie because after the big opening we have sort of that character set up and character development, but ideally, you know, we’re working towards that payoff at the end. So there’s, there’s the motivation behind it or we just, you know, we hope audiences stick with it. And you know, don’t sort of go, ‘Ah, you know, I’m not, not getting exactly what I need after six minutes, so I’m gonna go watch something. I’m gonna go watch Kevin in the woods where someone falls over and their top comes off or whatever. So, yeah, hopefully, the audiences give it a shot.”


Kelli M. McNeely: “I think they will. And especially our readers, you know, after they get through with my review, which will not spoil the ending or anything like that. so, it’ll still give people a chance to discover the things in the movie. And it’s out now isn’t it?”


April: “It was out Friday.”


Jamie: “It was out on Friday. It’s limited, but it’s in cinemas. It’s out where people can find it, not everywhere, but it is out now.”


Kelli M. McNeely: “I appreciate that a lot in the film is left to the viewer’s imagination. But when it comes to the special effects, were they all practical?”


April: “Most of them were, they were just enhanced digitally. Some of them were the ghosts, the ghost children. They had practical makeup on, but again, because it’s so difficult with children for them to wear prosthetics or keep a face of makeup on for an entire day, we did make some of their faces, slightly more exaggerated in post.”


Jamie: “And some blood and stuff in post, in general. Like I like to do as much as possible on camera. I’m not really a fan of visual Digital effects ever. But you know, some stuff, as you said, we did have to enhance it, a little bit, but yeah, not, not a huge amount. I mean, there’s not a huge amount of effects in the movie. But yeah, the ones we did do, we generally kept, quite simple.


Generally, in horror movies, that’s the best way to go. If you get really bad VFX or too much CGI or whatever, for me, it just takes me out of the movie. And once I’m out, it’s hard to get back in. Cause you become very aware of it, you lose that connection.”


Kelli M. McNeely: “So, what’s next for you two?”


April: “Jamie’s got about 18 projects that he’s working on. It’s gonna be a bumpy year, but I’m hoping, not too many more films because we’re expecting our first baby.”


Kelli M. McNeely: “Congratulations!”


April: “Thank you. Thank you. So yeah, I’m having to try and reign him in, in terms of the work stuff, but he’s one of those people that always have 50 scripts being written in his head at any time. Like I said, I don’t normally get jobs like this flooding my inbox, so hey, hopefully, this will kick off something for me in terms of people seeing me in this type of role. It’s gonna be an interesting year for us as a working partnership and as new parents.”


Kelli M. McNeely: “I’m so happy for you both, for your baby and for your film which I think will lead to big, important things for you both.


Jamie: “Thank you kindly.”


April: “Yes, thank you.”


Kelli M. McNeely: “Does The Kindred have a website?”


Jamie: “Parkhouse? Yeah. They’ve got some information on there. Yeah, Parkhouse pictures who are the production company that made it. They would be a good one to include.”


Jamie and April are one filmmaking team that you’re going to want to keep an eye on. I think we can expect more amazing things from them in the future. They have already impressed the hell out of this seasoned horror fan, and that’s saying something. I would not be surprised if The Kindred makes it onto our “Top 10 of 2022” list.If you haven’t seen The Kindred I urge you to do so immediately. I rarely get so excited about a movie as I did this one. It’s a fantastic film that gives us a great story while scaring the hell out of us.


Be sure to follow Jamie Patterson and April Pearson on social media to stay up to date on The Kindred and their other projects.


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