Heartstopper DVD Review

Written by Rosie Fletcher

DVD released by Momentum Pictures

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Directed by Bob Keen
Written by Vlady Pildysh
2006, Region 2 (PAL), 85 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)

DVD released on January 29th, 2007

Starring:
Meredith Henderson as Sara Wexler
Nathan Stephenson as Walter
James Binkley as Chambers
Michael Cram as Doctor Hitchens
Robert Englund as Sheriff Berger
Mark Day as Medical Driver
Laura DeCarteret as Nurse Grafton
Scott Gibson as Doctor Drayis
Ted Ludzik as Janitor Mackie
Lori Hallier as Ms. Wexler

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Review:

It’s a bit depressing to sit down and watch a horror movie and realise you’re too old for it. Especially when you’re not even 30 yet.

Heartstopper is teen through and through, from the fast moving title sequence with the quick cuts and the pop-punk soundtrack, to when our heroes first bond over shared PSP knowledge. Sadly, if this is the kind of horror movie kids these days have to settle for then I’d rather be an old git.

Set in a semi-abandoned hospital, Heartstopper is essentially a long chase sequence with intermittent gore. Chambers is a demonic serial killer, unsuccessfully put to death in the electric chair. Sarah is a slutty teenager with suicidal tendencies, who, for some reason, is a suitable receptacle for the reanimated Chambers to transfer his soul into, in order to escape the law. Walter is the rough kid with a heart of gold, who must help Sarah avoid being possessed by the spirit of Chambers. Robert Englund makes a brief appearance as a policeman, as does 5ive Girls' Amy Ciupak Lalonde, who plays a Triage Nurse. Cue violence and histrionics.

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All of the cast are a bit hammy, Englund included, and the script is rather cheesy, too. Chambers is sadly lacking in menace as the bad guy and the only thing that stood out about him, other than the strange pseudo biblical language he speaks in (“she is the rare one in a million capable of housing my unholy spirit” ) was that he was bald. Not a great resume for someone who rips people’s still beating hearts from their chests.

There’s lots and lots and lots of gore in Heartstopper, and it’s not done badly, but the linking story between the shots of entrails opens up a lot of questions. Why, for example, are there virtually no other patients in this hospital? And where’re the rest of the staff? Where did the clothes Walter brings come from? And why would a school girl be more adept at doing a blood transfusion than a nurse? I could go on, but I wouldn’t want to spoil the plot for you.

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Heartstopper obviously isn’t trying to be anything other than a fun gore flick, and there’s some appealing chemistry between the two leads which means you do care whether they live or die. However, even though in several scenes Heartstopper pushes all the right horror buttons (our heroine is hiding, for example, and the baddie is creeping round the room trying to find her) I never felt very scared. I subconsciously assumed that Sarah was always going to survive because of the type of character she is. And the baddie really isn’t that scary.

Watch this if you must, but be aware that it’s very silly in places (particularly at the end) and it doesn’t make an awful lot of sense.

Video and audio will not be rated as this was a screener.

Extras on the disk I had included an excellent interview with Robert Englund which is a must-see for all horror fans, and another worthwhile interview with director Bob Keen. Bob sheds more light on the plots details and motivations of Heartstopper, which is very useful.

Grades:

 
Movie: Oneandahalfstars
Video: n/a
Audio: n/a
Features: n/a
Overall: Oneandahalfstars

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