The Heretics is a 2017 film directed and story by Chad Archibald and written by Jayme Laforest. The film stars Nina Kiri as Gloria, a woman suffering from PTSD from once being kidnapped, Ry Barrett as Thomas, a cult member who survived the mass suicide and Jorja Cadence as Joan, Gloria’s intense girlfriend. The Heretics breaks the mold, while still not straying to far.
The film’s story revolves around Gloria (Kiri), a woman still suffering after being kidnapped a year earlier by a cult. The cult kidnapped her to perform a ceremony that led to their mass suicide. She goes to a local support group with her girlfriend, Joan(Cadence). Joan has her own past being abused by her father. One night after helping out at a soup kitchen, Gloria is kidnapped by Thomas(Barrett), the last surviving cult member.
The film is a horror films with thriller elements. It starts fast with a cult scene and then slows down as we learn more about Gloria’s back story. All three of the main actors do a fantastic job as this really is a three person film. The standout of the three though really is Jorja Cadence. She jumps between caring girlfriend to intense protector very quick. The material also helps each actor stand out as the mid-film twist really gives everyone’s performance a new light.
The twist also helps push the story forward as it isn’t one seen in many horror films. It also explains some rather conflicting moments earlier in the film. The overall plot serves the twist well, but felt like it could have used a little bit more flushing out. The supernatural element, while entertaining seems a little out of place and to much at times. A red herring sort of feeling is a necklace Joan give to Gloria early on. It seems to have some importance, but just drops out of the film pretty quickly.
The special effects are good with some supernatural looking things looking top notch. The makeup and effects used on Kiri as Gloria were extremely well done and looked amazing. Barrett also had well done makeup. The sets were also well done with the RV and cabin feeling especially creepy. The overall atmosphere of the film is creepy and generally unsettling.
Some Extra Thoughts: Gloria’s mother was right and should have picked her up after the soup kitchen. The charm necklace seems like it will be important latter, but really isn’t. The Joan and Thomas connection is really insane and well done. From the jump Joan is an intense girlfriend, like from the first second she is introduced to the last. Twist ending to match the twist middle.
Overall the sound quality is alright. My biggest complaint was a few scenes where background music drowned out the conversation between Gloria and Joan. It didn’t happen often, but when it did it was particularly tough to deal with. The music itself added a little bit, but drowning out the dialogue didn’t make it that worth it.
The Heretics is better then your average horror movie, but doesn’t reinvent the wheel. The positives out weigh the negatives and is an enjoyable watch. Come for the creepy atmosphere, stay for the twist.