Much Like cults themselves, films about such often seem like a good idea until you’re in too deep too turn back. Chad Archibald’s The Heretics may telegraph its destination, but it relishes the journey along its crooked path.
Gloria, after surviving a kidnapping and ritual mass sacrifice, is in therapy hoping to get her life back together. Though her relationship with her mother is strained, she does have a confidant in her girlfriend Joan. Even though Joan has her own dark past, they seem perfect together and Gloria feels like things are on the up until she is kidnapped by the same cult, again. Joan, distraught by her disappearance – races the against the night to save Gloria, so they can be together forever.
Where The Heretics lacks in character development, it makes up for in motivation. We never fully understand why Gloria has been chosen as the cult’s vessel, but that’s exactly what she is: a shiny vessel to deliver what they were promised. And that transformation is pretty impressive. The slimy black gunk of hell oozing out of Gloria is unsettling and disturbing while the mental gymnastics of what’s really happening to her leaves you disoriented and creeped out. Light on actual gore but rather heavy-handed in bodily horror and deformity, The Heretics focuses a bit more on the transformation rather than the end result – but that’s where the fun lies.
The Heretics is screening tonight at the 2018 Hexploitation Film Festival in Hamilton, Ontario. Tickets available here.