The Heretics (2017)
Directed by Chad Archibald
Starring Nina Kiri, Ry Barret, Jorja Cadence, Nina Richmond and Will King.
A notorious cult kidnaps a young girl, 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.
In Chad Archibald’s The Heretics, a young woman is kidnapped by a cult and forced to take part in their ritual. Years later, she’s kidnapped by a surviving cult member to complete the ritual and bring forth a demon into the world.
Right from the start, The Heretics draws you into its world through its visuals and cast, taking what seems like a fairly straightforward story and turning into an entertaining piece full of twists and turns. The film’s main trio, Nina Kiri, Ry Barrett and Jorja Cadence, each give stirring performances as they deal with Gloria’s (Kiri) abduction in their own unique ways.
Kiri provides a solid lead. As Gloria, she’s relatable and kind as a woman who wants to help others get through similar trauma while moving past her own, but as the film continues Kiri is able to play around with the role more. She shifts from defiant captive to creepy possession with ease and in those moments you never know what’s going to do next.
Barrett, meanwhile, plays cult member Thomas and gives a strong performance of his own. He’s able to convey a great deal through little dialogue and a physical performance, primarily relying on his body language throughout the film. Just pay close attention to his eyes; rarely do they ever sit still or are blank as his eyes dart around in nervousness and convey Thomas’ feelings more than his words do.
Cadence, however, provides what may be the strongest performance as Gloria’s girlfriend Joan. Throughout the film, Cadence goes through a roller coaster of emotions, from grief, rage and sadness, as she races to find Gloria before she’s lost to the cult. Together, the three leads have some great chemistry with each other and gain a good balance of screen time.
The Heretics is also a well-paced film. It never gets dull or stays on a scene too long. There’s always a new development around the corner to keep audiences intrigued and guessing. The writing is also fairly strong with each character sounding consistent throughout the film. There were maybe a couple of scenes that could have had some stronger dialogue, but for the most part its good and the cast were able to really convey the script’s strengths.
What is arguably the strongest aspect of The Heretics, however, is in its make-up and visuals. The film is shot very well with Archibald and his team finding good use of lighting and knowing what and who to focus on. It’s also very impressive looking at how much of the film uses practical make-up and effects. Niri’s physical look degrades at a pace that stays within the film’s continuity and gets pretty disturbing to look at. The make-up and art team went above and beyond to make her and the cabin they stay in look as creepy as possible.
Horror fans will get a kick out of The Heretics. It delivers a good balance of character development, story and scares than shines with the cast. The film’s trio do some great work with each other and on their own while audiences will be drawn to the eerie look and feel of the film. Simply put, The Heretics is a horror film you won’t want to miss.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★