Possession, cults and body horror all in one. The Heretics – movie review

As the most faithful readers of this blog might recall, one of my favourite horror movies of 2017 is Let Her Out, a Canadian modern body horror flick that stood out due to its extremely creepy and disturbing imagery combined with a quite unique cinematography.

The Heretics is a supernatural horror motion picture directed by the same guy who produced Let Her Out and directed another good flick, Bite from 2015. Also, the main actress in Let Her Out (Nina Kiri) plays the lead role here as well, as Gloria, a girl who went through a traumatic experienced when she got almost sacrificed by a cult.

Heretics 1.pngGloria, who now attends a recovery programme and dates Joan (Jorja Cadence), is trying to put the pieces of her life together, but one night she’s kidnapped and brought to a cabin by a man who supposedly wants to protect her from some supernatural entity that wants to enter our world through her body.

On one hand, the viewer witnesses her many attempts to run away; on the other, the audience follows Joan as she tries to get back to Gloria and save her.

I have to say, I had high expectations for this movie and it surely didn’t disappoint. All the good aspects of Let Her Out can be found here as well, with the scary (unsettling, if you will) aspects even improved upon Let Her Out.

As the story unfolds, the viewer gets to care more and more about Gloria, who’s played very well by rising star Nina Kiri. Yet, the relationship between Gloria and her abductor (Thomas, played by a scarred and burnt-faced Ry Barret) is extremely intriguing and well faceted.

Heretics 3.jpgHowever, the real highlight in The Heretics is the scare factor: once something happens to Gloria – especially to her body – the movie becomes very entertaining, fast-paced and a bit disturbing. In all honesty, some disturbing sequences lean towards a disgusting/gut-wrenching outcome, but most of it is justified and, in a way, helps to set the film apart from shallow PG-13 possession flicks. Body horror, which is Chad Archibald’s forte, blends perfectly into a story based on satanic cults, evil entities and supernatural elements.

It’s worth mentioning that, aside from the very last shot, The Heretics relies on practical effects and makeup… and it’s freaking terrific! Similarly to Bite and Let Her Out, the makeup department does a fantastic job at crafting terrifying figures, realistic bruises and scars, awesome demonic-like entities. Seriously, give these guys the opportunity to work with a big budget and they’ll do wonders.

The direction is, once again for Archibald, top-notch. The cinematography, devoid of any drawn-out scene, is frenetic yet never nauseating. The colour scheme adds a layer of interest to the movie, making it very good-looking for a low-budget indie flick, not unlike Let Her Out.

Continue reading and check my final grade below…

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Besides, every movie that has a line like “Don’t wait for God, break his jaw”, must be a good watch, right?!

Heretics 2.jpgUnfortunately, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. The Heretics is a greatly entertaining and freaky horror film, which however suffers enormously from some big, fat issues. So, before I dive right into them, let me remind you I do recommend the movie and I liked it more than my final grade would make you think.

Firstly, up to a certain point the movie is split into two different storylines, of which one is legitimately good but the other is atrociously stupid and terribly acted. In regards to the acting, excluding Gloria and Thomas, it’s all-around subpar and a tad bit laughable.

Yet, the music is embarrassing. Mind you, it won’t make your ears bleed, but it’s so formulaic and cliché that it seems taken directly from a free-download background sound website. Two of my biggest pet peeves in horror cinema when it comes to music are the piano and the violin: well, The Heretics utilises both throughout the runtime and it was almost painful to hear!

Lastly, the very last shot – the CGI one that I mentioned above – is so bad and poorly made that it kills the otherwise very good ending.

Due to these massive flaws, I have to objectively downgrade the film but, as I said previously, I did really enjoy it regardless and, for a less demanding audience, I’m sure it will be a good time.

The Heretics              6.5/10