Heir Movie Review
Written by John Colianni
Released by Fatal Pictures
Written and directed by Richard Powell
2015, 14 minutes, Not Rated
Short released on July 15th, 2015
Bill Oberst Jr. as Denis
Robert Nolan as Gordon
Mateo D'Avino as Paul
Jane Pokou as Jane/Waitress
Moviegoers have grown accustomed to huge spectacle and films that last hours. If the masses aren't shocked and awed and these works do not meet a common denominator of time and expense, they are deemed unworthy. What many don't understand is that bigger isn't always better and the craft of storytelling doesn't solely rest on multimillion dollar budgets and stars. A short piece minimizes the bloat of a full length feature but is still expected to convey the same amount of emotion and intrigue. This alone puts the writers, directors and actors of such works at a disadvantage. Still, filmmakers endure this challenge and bring new and refreshing works to those eager to have an expedited experience. Writer and director Richard Powell's Heir manages to creep me out, make me cringe and surprise me all in under fifteen minutes.
Heir's tag line attempts to paints itself as a father and son tale. From the very start, Heir has an uncomfortable atmosphere that only thickens and eventually suffocates its audience. I mean that in the most flattering way possible when it comes to horror. That may be yet another unique characteristic of horror and this work in particular, as it is so painfully uncomfortable to watch, which makes it all the more difficult to take your eyes off of it. Gordon is bringing his son Paul to meet his old college friend Denis over a meal at a diner. Prior to this, He is shown editing out his wife from a picture with Paul. Following this are a series of messages of Gordon setting up a “play date” with his son. Later, as the three meet over lunch, Denis holds back nothing being as creepy as possible, say “Ain't nothing like the real thing thing,” referring to Paul. Lunch concludes and they all continue to Denis' house.
This is where Heir shows its true colors. It is a story about monsters in more than just one way. It oozes with not-so-subtle tones of molestation and abuse; and then it actually starts to ooze. Gordon and Denis are actually monsters. Both men transform in a dance of tentacles and slime in what seems like a perverse ritual. Denis is clearly more comfortable in his own skin (or lack thereof), while Gordon's inner demon is one that he is still coming to terms with and battling to overcome and subside. While Heir tries to relieve its audience that things did not get as ugly as they could have, the damage has already been done and there is no going back. The superb acting from both Bill Oberst Jr. (Denis) and Robert Nolan (Gordon) complement the dialogue and lack of, filling in the silence beautifully with their emotions and presence.
Heir sets the bar as high as it can be when it comes to all the added elements that make a short and powerful piece. Many horror stories have pleasant endings or ones that leave audiences fulfilled. Heir is a painful and tormenting drag from its beginning all the way through to the resolution, leaving no good feelings. The work that was put in to garnish this type of emotion is nothing short of masterful. Remember, not all works of art are supposed to leave people feeling euphoric or happy. Heir is a perfect example that film can be beautifully constructed and hideously captivating at the same exact time.