Blu-ray Review: NEXT OF KIN

NEXT OF KIN was directed by Tony Williams from a screenplay he co-wrote with Michael Heath and stars Jackie Kerin, John Jarratt, Gerda Nicolson, Alex Scott, Bernadette Gibson, Vince Deltito and Charles McCallum. The movie features an intense synth score by Klaus Schulze of Tangerine Dream.

When a young woman inherits a creaky retirement home, she’ll find herself in a waking nightmare of murder, madness and a legacy of evil that may be inescapable.  

This 1982 Australian thriller follows Linda Stevens (Jacki Kerin) who inherits Monteclare, an old mansion that serves as a retirement facility. Linda’s mother passed away and left everything to her so when she returns to her childhood home it doesn’t take her long to discover that something doesn’t feel right about this place. The old gothic location is full of beautiful scenery but this place also comes with some extremely disturbing secrets – past and present. Linda settles in as best she can and even gets to spend a little time with her old boyfriend Barney (John Jarratt) who sort of serves as her escape from this old place.

What happens is, some unexplained deaths occur so Linda decides to do some investigating which leads her to thinking that Monteclare mainstays, Connie (Gerda Nicolson) and Dr. Barton (Alex Scott) could be behind them. But why? Linda’s world gets extremely dangerous as she digs through her mother’s private diary that gives some hints to some of the tragic events that have took place in this place. Linda unfortunately gets too deep and ends up discovering who is actually behind the murders and it’s not who she thought it was. This investigation turns into a fight for her life as Linda makes her way out of this dreaded situation before she becomes the next victim of this sinister agenda.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve also features some alternate artwork that you can see down below so you have your choice of which side you’d like to use as the front cover. This Severin release comes in a black keepcase which helps it stand out from the others. The Blu-ray disc also features some matching artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. Next of Kin has been transferred from original Australian vault elements. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition upgrade were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio for this Blu-ray release.

Bottom line is, I went into Next of Kin thinking it was a first time watch but it didn’t take long for me to realize that I’d seen this thriller before, maybe on one of the premium channels late at night when I was a kid or maybe at the video store on DVD. Who knows! Either way, it’s a fantastic slice of obscure cinema because it’s a slow burn that builds the suspense as it plays out. It’s a creepy watch that slowly turns into an intense psychological thriller. I can really see why the movie has been compared to The Shining and Susperia because it’s a beautifully shot movie that has this haunting and atmospheric tone to it. Jackie Kerin and John Jarratt lead a great cast but it’s Tony Williams directing/storytelling and the stunning cinematography that are the heart of this film. There’s also a little blood and gore to go along with it all. It’s amazing that Next of Kin never got its due back in the day and unfortunately neither did Mr. Williams because this ended up being his only feature film he directed. It’s a well executed chiller that was never really able to find its audience but thanks to Severin Films it will now and cinephiles are in for a treat. Next of Kin will finally make its Blu-ray debut in the U.S. on February 26th. Be sure you check out this underrated gem from down under.

Distributor: Severin Films

Run Time: 89 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1) Region Free

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: Good Stuff! The extras include two audio commentaries, an alternate intro, interviews, location revisit, deleted scenes, vintage ballroom footage, three trailers, alternate German opening, image gallery and the director’s short film collection.

  • Commentary with Director Tony Williams and Producer Tim White
  • Commentary with Mark Hartley & Cast Members Jackie Kerin, John Jarrett & Robert Ratti
  • House Of Psychotic Women Intro By Kier-La Janisse for Morbido TV (05:41)
  • Extended Interviews from Not Quite Hollywood (25:26)
  • Return to Monteclare: Location Revisit, 2018 (10:30)
  • Deleted Scenes (04:25)
  • Before the Night is Out: Ballroom Footage, 1979 (02:26)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (02:55)
  • UK VHS Trailer (02:54)
  • German Theatrical Trailer (03:15)
  • Alternate German Opening (01:30)
  • Image Gallery (10:37)
  • Tony Williams Short Films (30:05)
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