Cult Corner: The Heretics (2018) - Reviewed

Fine title and poster, provoking an air of foreboding and evil.

The actual movie, not so much. 

Directed and co-written by Chad Archibald, The Heretics is not this Canadian director’s first pow-wow. Chad Archibald is the creator and co-owner of the Canadian production company, Black Fawn Films, and have produced indie hits such as Desperate Souls and Neverlost. As a personal tip of the hat, he also directed an old underrated favorite of mine – The Drownsman.

The storyline of The Heretics, however, is familiar – stop me if you have heard this one before….

A notorious cult kidnaps a young girl, Gloria, and sacrifice themselves by the light of the locust moon. The next morning the girl awakes, caked in dried blood and surrounded by corpses...but safe - or so she thinks. Years later, the locust moon is about to rise again and the girl is captured once more by a surviving member of the cult. She is taken to a remote cabin where she learns that a demon has been growing inside of her all these years, and before the dawn it will rise.

Do not fret, that is not a spoiler. If anything, it is brutally obvious from the beginning. However, do not be deterred by this yet. There are minor plot twists that come at just the right time, but unfortunately that does little to elevate the predictability of The Heretics

As a fan of supernatural horror, specifically, the idea of good old devil worship and impending doom is delicious chum, but this film was disappointing. The acting is not the worst I have ever seen, but it is hardly decent. Reaction acting is pivotal to the believability of a scene, and The Heretics fail hard at this. Then again, few movies these days bother with pesky little things like believability.

Nina Kiri stars as Gloria, the damsel in distress, with Jorja Cadence as her girlfriend, Joan, and Ry Barret as Thomas. Barret is the only convincing character in the film and clearly shows potential as an actor. Kiri is unbearably pallid and one-dimensional and Cadence has a penchant for over-acting, but as a whole, we cannot blame them, given the limited dialogue and storytelling they have to work with.

The principal obstacle that impedes The Heretics is without a doubt the predictable story and its plethora of clichés. Having said that though, it is not a complete waste of time. Throughout, the pace is good and the characters keep you watching. Most of all, the demon is delectably convincing and the make-up is solid. For a low budget film, it is not bad at all, if you can bear the mediocre acting and limp plot. I can only hope that Mr Archibald sets his sights on more original deliveries such as The Drownsman in future, because his films have great potential.

--Tasha Danzig