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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 06.01.15] horror

Canada's rich tradition of body horror continues in Heir, a shocking new short from writer/director Richard Powell, whose films Worm and Familiar have been praised for raising horror filmmaking to an art form. Since I've only seen Heir I'll keep the hyperbole to a minimum, but I will say that Powell understands how horror can work to tackle very dark, taboo topics in a way that other forms just can't. And here, Powell supplies some truly repulsive imagery in service of discussing an equal repulsive topic.

Heir begins with a father confirming a "play date" with an unknown, online contact. Shrouded in the shadows as he does this, you know this kind of "play date" is not of the innocent variety. We see him itching at a wound - a malady that can't be soothed. The symbolism is all too clear. This is a sick man, both inside and out.

Honestly, I'm creeped out just thinking back on the film. The idea of these two men preying on a young boy is hard to watch and it's hard to think about, but it happens. It's a reality. Right away, Heir raises your anxiety and Powell keeps the tension building to an almost unbearable level as this "play date" is enacted.

Bill Oberst, Jr. plays the man on the other end of the computer and he is as sleazy as you might expect. We will also discover that, while the father is becoming increasingly infected, this guy is so consumed by the sickness that he's literally become a monster.

Again, no plot spoilers here, but I will say that Heir ends on a satisfying note in that it's difficult to tell whether it's hopefully or not. I think different viewers will leave with a different opinion about it. I know where I stand, but I'll be interested to read how others think when the film finally premiers to the world at Fantasia Film Fest in a couple of months.

Technically the film has ups and downs as most shorts do. The cinematography is fantastic the practical make-up FX are as slimy and grotesque as you want them to be. The acting fits into the "serious horror" wheelhouse in that it leans away from naturalism. The real strength of the film is the sense of dread and mystery it manages to instill right out of the gate. It's well done.

HEIR is Written & Directed by Richard Powell. It Stars Bill Oberst Jr, & Robert Nolan. Produced by Zach Green, Marc Roussel (Remote), Ronnie Basch & Richard Powell.

It will have its world premier at Montreal's Fantasia Film Festival.

Follow HEIR on Facebook.

Sorry, no trailer folks!

Recommended Release: Videodrome

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