The Heiress (2021) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

The Heiress (2021) Review

Horrorific content by Christina Dee on April 27th, 2021 | Movie Review | Psychological, Pregnancy, Haunted House - Inherited, Dysfunctional Family, Witchcraft

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Following the death of Clare’s grandmother, ancient spirits are unleashed and the women must do battle with ‘Lilith’, a malevolent female spirit who has returned to claim possession of Anna’s unborn child.

If you dig slow-burning British ghost stories, then you might want to give The Heiress some of your screening time sometime soon. Directed by Chris Bell, The Heiress stars Candis Nergaard (from White Chamber), Jayne Wisener (from Sweeney Todd), Jonny Phillips, David Schaal and Denise Stephenson. Chris Bell also wrote the script along with Danny Prescott and appeared briefly in the film as the character Brad.

The curse runs through her veins

The Heiress Review

The Heiress is the story of two sisters, Claire (Nergaard) and Anna (Wisener). Their grandmother has recently passed away, and now it's up to them to pick up the pieces and move on with their lives. Claire, in particular, seems to be having a tough time with this. She's already struggled her entire life with seizures that keep her from working and otherwise living a normal life. Now with her grandmother out of the picture, she's lonelier than ever.

One day, while she's going through a few old keepsakes, Claire stumbles across an old book that reminds her of some of the stories her grandmother used to tell her, but she also senses that something isn't right. From that moment on, she's troubled by disturbing visions of nefarious apparitions. They include a disturbing child that always wears a mask and a menacing old woman who continuously harasses Claire.

As Claire's mental health and sanity continue to worsen, Anna is faced with the responsibility of caring for her and keeping her grounded. Meanwhile, Claire insists that her visions are real, even after her family stages an intervention to try to compel her to seek help. It's only when Father John O'Shea (Schaal) arrives in the sisters' world that another possibility is presented – that Claire may have accidentally invited something sinister into her life and need deliverance.

If you think that The Heiress sounds like a fairly standard ghost story, you're right. It covers a lot of ground that's going to be very familiar to seasoned horror fans. It's got the dead relative, the mysterious object from the past, the creepy house, and the disturbing hallucinations that may or may not be real. But that doesn't necessarily mean this film isn't worth seeing.

The Heiress brings a surprising amount of depth to the table for a fairly standard haunted house set-up. It has quite a lot to say about mental illness, chronic conditions, and the stigma that come with such things. It also does an excellent job of highlighting complex family dynamics and the pressures of caring for sick or otherwise infirm relatives.

The real-life drama portion of the equation is set off to perfection by terrific performances, especially from Candis Nergaard as the tortured Claire. Nergaard breathes life and heart into Claire, helping the audience care about her and feel invested in her ultimate fate. There are also some darned decent scares woven throughout, even though the film's horror elements are slower to get going.

In fact, if The Heiress could be said to have a significant flaw, it's the way the terrifying parts of the story don't pick up until the very last portion. The audience is then hurried along toward the film's conclusion at a breakneck pace that feels very rushed at times. However, there are enough well-executed scares and visually appealing sequences to make the sudden change in pacing easy to forgive.

Worth Watching?

The Heiress is far from a perfect film, and it definitely treads very familiar ground as far as most of the plotline goes, but there's enough substance and creativity here to make this a winner.

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