Horror Shorts: Heir (2016) - Reviewed

Heir is a Canadian horror short that has been making the festival rounds and picking up nominations and wins for Best Horror Short. It the story of a father and son who take a road trip to visit one of the father’s old friends, with both of them harboring a dark secret. It is an effective story that ends up providing the viewer with offensive special effects that are reminiscent of the body horror films of David Cronenberg and John Carpenter’s The Thing

The acting is well done from the small cast, most notably Robert Nolan as the father and Bill Oberst Jr. as the old friend. Oberst Jr. has a very recognizable persona, often playing evil characters due to his scarred face and intense eyes. He doesn’t disappoint in this one, as it is clear from the moment that you see him that his intentions are not good. Nolan is excellent as well, having previously appeared in the director’s last two shorts.

The direction and story are well crafted from creator Richard Powell. It goes places on various levels, leaving you questioning what the ultimate goals of these characters are until the truth is finally revealed. It features some nice use of lighting and shadows and a good build up of tension with the use of editing and music. All of these pieces make for an interesting movie, but the true star of this is the wonderfully disturbing and shocking special effects that call back to the early works of Cronenberg. This is reportedly the last short from Powell, who will now move onto feature length pictures. It will be interesting to see if this or one of his other shorts gets the feature treatment or if he moves onto something new. Either way, this is someone to keep an eye on if he sticks in the horror genre. 

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-Raul Vantassle