The Heretics (2017)
Director: Chad Archibald
Performers: Nina Kiri, Ry Barrett, Jorja Cadence
What do you get when you cross The Fly with The Wicker Man with a Christian twist? Director Chad Archibald aims to find out in his latest film The Heretics (2017). With the threat of the demon Abaddon and his followers lurking in every shadow, the film works hard to keep us as off-kilter as the protagonists. Love it or hate it, the movie has some strong scenes, though the sound and film editing are sometimes distracting. As a B movie, though, it works just fine.
Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Heretics is an odd film that doesn’t seem to know what it wants to say or why. It starts out promisingly enough with a Lovecraftian cult and an air of mystery, but then it starts explaining every step of the way until there’s nothing clever left. We get an LGBTQA couple, but we also get the evil lesbian cliché that, while handled well in Le Fanu’s Carmilla, is handled less deftly here. The character names, if you know anything about stories from The Bible, set up exactly what roles each character plays (Thomas doubts, get it?). When our protagonist Gloria (Nina Kiri) is abducted, we haven’t spent enough time with her to feel bad for her. What should have been pitiable ends up more like whining on her part when she’s in peril. There are some good performances, most notably Jorja Cadence as Joan: Her scenes searching for her missing girlfriend Gloria are just so enjoyable that when they come face-to face, it’s as perfect as you’d imagine. However, the film undermines its own tension building until the end when, unless you work hard to suspend disbelief during the big showdown, the outcome is pretty obvious.
I recommend this movie purely for Jorja Cadence’s killer performance. It’s bound to get attention, as it should.
Reviewed by Kelley M. Frank