14th Apr2021

‘The Heiress’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Candis Nergaard, Jayne Wisener, David Schaal, Jonny Phillip, David Wayman, Flip Webster, Mark Arden, Denise Stephenson, Chris Bell | Written by Chris Bell, Danny Prescott, Kelly Prescott, Jezz Vernon | Directed by Chris Bell

The thing I noticed most about The Heiress while watching it, is that it is very, very, British for a variety of reasons that I will go into later… The story followss two sisters who live together, Clare and Anna. Clare has seizures (this is kind of important, or at least it is supposed to be) and soon starts to see ghosts or at least what she thinks are ghosts, while her sister just thinks she is going crazy. This being a horror movie, the ghosts are real.

So why is it a very British movie? It’s kinda hard to say if you’re not from Great Britain or have never visited here but the locations, the fashion, the dialogue and the characters and the actors they play are all just so… British. If this is a good or bad thing, I’m not really sure but it’s not the reason solely that I didn’t enjoy the film.

The performances generally feel very amateur by most of the main cast. There are a couple of well known and experienced actors in minor roles – David Schall (The Inbetweeners) and Jonny Phillips (many British TV shows) and they do fine but they’re not on screen very long. This is despite the dialogue part of the script actually being pretty decent. There were no strong, dialogue-heavy scenes but everything felt natural and like things people would say in real-life; and that’s more than can be said for many low budget horror movies.

Sadly, for a horror movie, there isn’t much horror in The Heiress. This could easily be a daytime made for television movie if it weren’t for a couple of moments. The “scary” scenes, or times when the ghosts are haunting the house, featuring such terrifying incidents as opening a draw in the kitchen or turning a bedroom light on when everyone was out of the house! You won’t be having nightmares after watching this that’s for sure.

The Heiress also tries to cover the tricky subject of mental illness and seizures but manages to do both badly. I understand that people don’t all have painful or erratic seizures but the ones here involved the character leaning her head back a bit and shutting her eyes. While the people around her coping with her going ‘crazy’ by sending her straight to the hospital (via the priest).

One of the strangest things about The Heiress is that there are a certain number of dream sequences that are shot differently from the main feature but shot in a much better way. The cinematography and lighting are noticeably better. It’s there so you know this is a dream but it just makes you wonder why the rest of the movie looks so poor in comparison.

There are plenty of great British horror movies for genre fans to enjoy. The Heiress is unfortunately not one of them.

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