Director Chad Archibald knows his way around the horror genre. He and his company Black Fawn Films have had a hand in plenty of them. His credits include BITE and I’LL TAKE YOUR DEAD. In THE HERETICS he and screenwriter Jayme Laforest revisits BITE’s body horror
As a young girl Gloria (Nina Kiri THE HANDMAID’S TALE, THE HAUNTED HOUSE ON KIRBY ROAD) was kidnapped by a cult and used in a ritual that ended with them committing mass suicide. Now she works as a counselor for former cultists and lives quietly with her girlfriend Joan (Jorja Cadence). Now as the anniversary of that ritual approaches she stalked and kidnapped by Thomas (Ry Barrett LIFECHANGER, THE FINAL RIDE) who claims to be the cult’s last survivor.
He also has another claim. That the original ritual prepared the way for her to transform into a demon, something that will happen within the next twenty-four hours.
THE HERETICS does a good job of shifting between genres. It starts off with a slasher vibe as Thomas searches for Gloria. Then moves into thriller territory as Joan tries to find and rescue her from Thomas Before finally switching gears into the supernatural as we begin to realize he might actually be right. Kiri does a good job with this as Gloria has to change and evolve with the circumstances she finds herself in, from haunted survivor to possible vessel of the demon Abbadon.
As should be expected from Black Fawn, the effects are excellent, especially in the later parts of the film as Gloria’s appearance starts to rapidly change and deteriorate. The set design is also great, the cabin most of the last act takes place looks like it’s been rotting and festering in the woods for years. It’s an appropriately grim setting for the events that take place.
THE HERETICS is an enjoyable film with some excellent effects and worth catching. It will be available on Demand November 6 and DVD January 5 from Uncork’d Entertainment.