After connecting with a stranger of similar interests online, family man Gordon and his young son Paul embark on an ill fated road trip in which Gordon aims to indulge in a secret passion. Before the day ends a horrible truth will be uncovered and a harsh lesson will be learned.
Bill Oberst Jr. as Denis
Robert Nolan as Gordon
Mateo D'Avino as Paul
Heir is, without a shadow of doubt, one of the most unsettling short films you’ll ever see. It’s crawling with dark and terrifying suggestion all while delivering some very visceral imagery. In other words, we get the best of two worlds here, psychological horror and straight forward shock ‘em horror. Writer/director Richard Powell has created the kind of film you’ll love and simultaneously love to hate, especially if you’re a parent.
The story – or what we can tell you of the story, without spoiling it for you – focuses on Gordon (Robert Nolan), his son Paul (Mateo D’Avino) and a meeting with the mysterious man known as Denis (Bill Oberst Jr.) Paul has virtually no idea why his father is taking him to meet with Denis, but we, the viewer, see hints of the despicable intentions within the films first three minutes. See, Gordon isn’t there with his son for a pleasant meal and thought provoking dialogue, he’s there to introduce his son to Denis. Again, without spoiling things for you, we can tell you that Paul really, really shouldn’t be meeting with this complete creep.
But the meeting is made, and the result of this meeting brings three entirely different lives together in a whirlwind of perverse terror. We’re talking about wildly disconcerting stuff on the docket for Denis and Paul, and as a parent, it’s tough to watch.
But that’s effective horror. That’s a convincing and traumatic display of savagely accurate storytelling and polished filmmaking. Powell clearly has a very dark mind, and he’s very clearly willing to explore that black matter. Somehow, he does so without venturing into tremendously offensive territory. He handles the content just right, painting the picture for all it needs to be, not all it could be, which would no doubt have viewers boycotting the film. You’ve got to give the man credit for such slick execution.
At just 14 minutes run-time there isn’t a wealth of material to dissect, but Powell’s refinement also ensures that there isn’t much to pick apart. The performances are unanimously strong (Oberst Jr. – in particular – shines like I’ve never seen, and he’s going to leave you squirming in your seat), the camera work is basic but clean, the sound is crisp and – we even get some… monstrous images, shall we say, that look creepy as all hell. Heir is a stunning film that should have you dying for a chance to jump in the shower and wash the filth off. That’s the goal of the picture, the picture that succeeds to such a degree we almost wish it didn’t.
If you’re looking for deeply unsettling genre material, you’re looking for a film like Heir.