November 1, 2018 The Heretics (Movie Review)
One very unfortunate young woman is undergoing a horrifying transformation in the brand new Canadian Horror offering The Heretics, which arrives to VOD on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, thanks to the people at Uncork’d Entertainment. If you want something a little more physical, don’t fret: The Heretics also arrives to DVD on January 5, 2019.
Gloria (Nina Kiri: Let Her Out 2016, The Handmaid’s Tale series) is experiencing terrifyingly spooky nightmares in which a bizarre cult partakes of a truly bloody ritual in the middle of the woods. Her mother Ruth (Nina Richmond: Fear Thy Neighbor series, Bears: A Coming Out Story series) is concerned for her daughter’s episodes, but optimistic that her group therapy sessions will help her overcome the traumatic episode that inspired her night terrors. Though, when Gloria goes missing on the night of her one-year anniversary, it’s her spirited girlfriend Joan (Jorja Cadence: Deadly Women series, Firecrackers 2018) who rallies the troops at the local church to go out in search of her missing lover.
Meanwhile, in a cabin in the woods, Gloria is being held hostage by Thomas (Ry Barrett: If A Tree Falls 2010, The Demolisher 2015), who claims that he has her best interests at heart and is attempting to save her from her unusual fate. Amongst whispers of the Guardian of the Abyss, Abaddon (Austin Duffy: The Haunted House on Kirby Road 2016, The Detectives series), she begins to experience a frightful transformation, and Gloria must trust her captor if she hopes to survive to see tomorrow’s sunrise.
Clocking in at 87 minutes in-length, The Heretics was Directed by Chad Archibald (Bite 2015, I’ll Take Your Dead 2018), and Written by Archibald and Jayme Laforest (Gods of Accident 2010, Bite 2015). The Heretics is an exciting new entry into the Horror genre: one that combines cult craziness, a cabin in the woods, and one truly demonic metamorphosis. And yes, it’s actually a Horror film: not a diluted offering with Horror elements!
While not an entirely flawless production, The Heretics is able to overcome any of its little snafus to engage viewers and weave a unique tale that is bolstered by its true originality and its wonderful cast who do a fantastic job in their roles, making the entirely unbelievable seem potentially feasible. In the lead, Kiri is largely relegated to being chained in place, coughing out goo, and losing her hair. It is her ability to let-go and fall head-first into her role that lends a hefty credit to the entire production, saving the film from being cheesy, grade-B schlock to a truly disturbing nightmare.
Working wonderfully with the material laid out before them, Barrett and Cadence both provide stellar performances. Barrett’s Thomas is a calming force, Gloria’s would-be savior who has, not without scars, defied his cult beginnings to forge his own path. He is the good in this tale of Good vs. Evil. His foil, Cadence’s Joan, is the gloriously unrepentant evil goddess who is so wonderfully demented that she provides the bulk of the film’s chills. Cadence gives a superb performance as one truly twisted villain, placing a devious spin on the entire tale; where you might initially show her great empathy, you will quickly learn not to trust so easily.
The bulk of today’s true Horror offerings are neither scary nor entirely engaging, but rather a collection of banal retellings of the same stories that have been done ad nauseum. The Heretics defies this standard, weaving a unique tale that looks good, feels appropriately dark and moody, and while not scary or even particularly creepy, is disturbing enough to be unnerving and, therefore, makes for a truly enjoyable viewing experience.
Hands down one of the best true Horror films of recent memory, The Heretics does Canada proud! For these reasons, CrypticRock give The Heretics 4 of 5 stars. Stay for the end credit sequence, which contains a wonderful original song, “Closer to the Fire,” by Tara Watts and Steph Copeland.