Alice Oscura, Featured Writer
Plot: Claire (Candis Nergaard) lives with her devoted sister Anna (Jayne Wisener). She suffers from fits that seemed to worsen after the death of their grandmother Nan Abigail (Jean Trend). However, Claire’s family begins to question her sanity when she starts seeing mysterious beings in her house and having intense nightmares.
Review: UK horror film The Heiress marks the directorial debut of Chris Bell. The main things to note here is that the film builds very slowly and there’s quite a bit going on in the varying layers of this low-budget horror.
One of the main plot points is the tales of witchcraft told to Claire as a young teenager by her grandmother, Nanny Abigail. It almost gives the atmosphere of a dark, creepy fairy tale occurring within modern confines that resemble an old cottage from the exterior while in the middle of suburban London.
The hauntingly tense atmosphere is mostly created by strange figures donning creepy masks and staring intently but silently at the living folk, along with dark shadows and unexpected noises. These are accompanied by Claire’s disturbing nightmares of flashbacks that hint to a dark, sinister secret fighting to rear its ugly head in the present. The jump scares are neatly and strategically spaced out and there are some decent special effects occurring at the film’s climax.
Claire’s fits seemed to be exacerbated when her emotions are at their height, but what I found kind of disappointing was the lack of the backstory for her condition in order for us to see if she was born with it or whether she developed it later in life.
Another important point to mention is the ongoing battle between the vastly differing beliefs of science and religion. At one point, Claire is admitted to a mental clinic because her visions caused her to become more aggressive and there begins a battle between her psychiatrist and her priest in terms of the type of treatment that she needed. I must admit that I became increasingly frustrated by her family’s reactions during the peak of the hauntings. Although it is hard to believe that somebody can experience a genuine, bona fide haunting, it was a bit much when her relatives instantly concluded that Claire must be losing her marbles instead of delving into the mysterious backstory of the family.
The performances of the cast in general are particularly good but actress Candis Nergaard is the one that stands out the most here as a person not only struggling with a chronic illness but battling with a supernatural element while those closest to her believe she is losing her sanity.
You can see the passion and eagerness of the director Chris Bell in this one. It is a pretty decent debut horror film and I look forward to seeing similar projects of this genre from him.
Alice’s Score: 6.5 out of 10
Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump. I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. You can find me as Dark Alice Reviews on Facebook where you’ll get my reviews hot off the press. You can also find me on Instagram as alice_oscura and my Twitter handle is @lise_veliz2. For my extended bio you can click here.