dir. Dan Slater
In a nondescript time and place, a family unit – headed by a pair of brutal parental figures – closely resembles a cult, complete with a religious belief system. As the children of this ‘family’ seek to please their ‘parents’ it begins to tear apart the very fabric of their clan.
From the off The Family establishes itself as an uncomfortable and challenging watch, grimly effective and drenched in a morbid atmosphere, but one which also finds richness in its themes, particularly the generational conflict. The committed ensemble do great work, with Nigel Bennett, Toni Ellward, Keana Lynn and Benjamin Charles Watson all leaving strong impressions. It almost feels a shame then that the suffocating atmosphere takes something away from these performances, often reducing them to two-dimensional interpretations of their characters. What nuance does exist then is not in the narrative, the script (from director Dan Slater and co-writer Adam Booth) proving rather blunt at times.
In this The Family struggles to bring its themes to a satisfying conclusion. A deliberately languid pace gains momentum at the end but sadly sacrifices some of the prior detail. And in the end audiences may not enjoy their time in this strange household, but will find that it lingers after the credits roll.