An uneasy fusion of free-form tagalong and malevolent fairy tale, this wisp of an indie feature follows stringy-haired ten-year-old Annie (Sydney Aguirre) as she prowls the run-down territory around her rural home. Ignored by her redneck dad (Nathan Zellner), she shoplifts and hucks bread at passing cars as if she’s in a budding-delinquent version of David Gordon Green’s George Washington. But her aimless wandering starts to accrue an ominous undercurrent—or rather, the fitfully foreboding score slaps one on at what feel like almost random intervals.
Her father’s interactions with his mouth-breathing buddy (director David Zellner) evoke Harmony Korine at his most ugly-anthropological, but once Annie discovers an abandoned well in the forest inhabited by a disembodied female voice (Susan Tyrrell), Kid-Thing takes on a more singular tone. She’s intrigued by, then cautious of, what seems to be a helpless old woman trapped in an unlikely place, not sure whether to ditch her mundane life and get involved in what feels increasingly like a brush with another world. Aguirre is a find—she has none of the precociousness of the typical screen tween—but the movie’s magical-realist elements don’t jibe with the unstudied naturalism of her performance.
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