The Heretics (2017)

Is it really so hard to do the barest minimum of research, filmmakers? I get that a good number of you are godless heathens (no judgment from me), but if you’re going to reference the Bible, is it so hard to open the book to the table of contents and see that it’s ACTUALLY “Book of Revelation,” NOT “Revelations?” Singular, not plural? I know it’s a real petty point, especially one to start on, but whenever I see a demon hunter or a cult leader make such an easy mistake, it sort of takes me out of the moment.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, let’s begin for real.

The Heretics is one of those small cast, character driven horror movies that I love so much (I’ll get to you another day, Honeymoon). Five years ago Gloria was abducted by a cult who–supposedly–all killed themselves. Flash forward to now, she’s abducted again by one of the survivors, Thomas, who is now trying to subvert the will of the dark god he used to worship, Abaddon. See, the king of armored locusts with lions’ teeth is supposed to burst out of Gloria tonight, and Thomas thinks that’s bad. But his evil sister, cult leader Joan, thinks that’s great!

I suppose it’s technically a spoiler to say that Joan is evil since we are first introduced to her as Gloria’s girlfriend, but a couple minutes after seeing her in action reveal that Joan is not only evil, but downright dangerously unstable. It was a bit of a relief finding out that she was indeed a cultist instead of just the most intense person you have ever had the misfortune of meeting. The rest of the movie, mostly Thomas and Gloria, is a little less in-your-face, although I suppose “seeing a horned demon chasing you” falls under that umbrella…

Gloria transforming into something beyond human is the bulk of the movie, and the effects look pretty good. I think I could tell that the actress was wearing a bald cap near the end, but the wing nubs sprouting out of her back are disgusting and amazing. Thomas and Gloria interactions are engaging, too, which is good since it’s so much of the film. I just wish that the movie had remembered that it was a character driven horror thriller that stands above the average horror flick you’ve never heard of on Netflix, instead of going for a much more “standard horror movie” clichéd ending…

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