'The Heretics' drew me into seeing it, with a cool poster/cover, an intriguing if unoriginal premise and as someone with a general appreciation for horror. That it was low-budget, which from frequent personal experience is rarely a good sign due to that there are so many poor ones out there, made me though apprehensive.
It is sadly however yet another film seen recently, hence some reiteration because the exact same strengths and flaws are here present in those films, that to me was incredibly disappointing considering its potential which it doesn't do anywhere near enough with. 'The Heretics' is terrible, with a plethora of problems (huge ones too) and doesn't do enough with its potential, which was hardly small. There is very little to recommend in 'The Heretics'.
Lets start with the positive, and sadly it is the only redeeming quality. The scenery is atmospheric and spooky, despite the rather direct to video schlocky way it's generally shot (apart from the odd nice one) and edited, it was very clear that the film was made in a rush with no care or enthusiasm.
Going on further to the negatives, the story does feel over-stretched and some of it feels vague, under-explained in the last third where the film especially became duller, more predictable, more senseless and less unsettled and never gaining momentum. Too many characters are too sketchy and with nowhere near enough to make one want to endear to them. Their annoying and illogical decision making and behaviours frustrates.
Making the film feel bland and forgettable with not enough heart put into it. The effects are ropy at best, the sound quality is obvious and utilised cheaply (being too loud in the build ups and people's reactions) and all of the acting is lacking severely, seeming to think that screaming your head off a good deal or going through the motions counts as good acting.
Dialogue can be stilted and rambling while the pace and film drags on forever, never recovering until finally getting slightly intriguing to the ending when something sort of finally happens. Even the ending however is botched, due to being so incomplete-feeling and hard to swallow. Found too many of the supposedly shocking moments not surprising or scary and the supposedly creepy atmosphere dreary, due to the excessive obviousness, a lot of dumb and vague moments and explanations and the lack of tension and suspense.
A lot of 'The Heretics' has underdeveloped plot elements and often nonsensical and confusing character motivations, while too many of the things to make you shocked are far from creative or unsettling.
There is not enough threat here and what there is of it tends to be used poorly, while the horror elements are unimaginative and are more odd than scary, completely failing to show any sense of horror. Some badly sagging momentum too and a lot of weirdness. The direction is leaden, got the sense their heart was not in it, and the music doesn't really fit, sounds cheap and like it belonged somewhere else entirely.
Concluding, terrible. 2/10 Bethany Cox