Over the past few years Canada’s Black Fawn Films have racked up an impressive track record when it comes to producing genre films with titles that include IN THE HOUSE OF THE FLIES, THE DROWNSMAN, ANTISOCIAL, BED OF THE DEAD and BITE. So when I was offered a screener of their most recent film THE HERETICS, I was more than happy to check it out.
Five years ago, Gloria (Nina Kiri THE HAUNTED HOUSE ON KIRBY ROAD, LET HER OUT) was kidnapped by a cult which committed mass suicide during a ritual that left her shaken but seemingly unharmed. Now her life revolves her work at a woman’s shelter and her girlfriend Joan (Jorja Cadence DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE). On the day before their anniversary Gloria is kidnapped by Thomas (Ry Barrett THE DEMOLISHER, ANTISOCIAL), a former cult member who had turned apostate. Thomas claims that all the cult members didn’t die in the ritual, one is alive and intends to sacrifice Gloria in a second ritual to bring the dark angel Abbadon from the Book of Revelations into our world. Gloria’s physical condition takes a turn for the worse, is it illness or possession? Can Thomas be trusted? Will Gloria’s friends and family find her before it’s to late?
Directed by Chad Archibald from a script by Jayme Laforest, (they had previously collaborated on BITE), THE HERETICS is a tense, fast moving film that once it gets started, rarely slows down. It takes a mean twist at about the thirty minute mark, and from there on it keeps throwing twists at the audience until it becomes a surprise when the plot goes where you think it will.
There’s a good deal of the BITE’s body horror this time around as Gloria’s condition manifests itself The effects, while not as gross as the previous film’s, are distinctly nasty looking. This makes one sequence really peg out the disturbing meter. There are a fair number of effects, pretty much all practical and well done. Combined with convincing performances from the three leads, especially Kiri, who frequently has to do it under layers of prosthetics requiring seven or eight hours to apply and Barrett who adds depth to his character, a man haunted by the past and afraid of what might happen in the present, it makes it very easy to buy into the supernatural storyline.
THE HERETICS recently made its world premiere at The Canadian Film Fest and will be playing other festivals before coming to market via Breakthrough Entertainment. It’s definitely a film to seek out.