A father (Robert Nolan) takes his son to spend a day with an old college friend (Bill Oberst Jr.), but the activities they engage in are far more insidious than simply “gone fishing.” The father, on top of the strange goings-on in his friend’s home, experiences a stigmata-like wound that oozes a sticky pus.
The short quickly deviates from reality, surreal imagery and special effects work becoming more prevalent as the short progresses. For the budget, the special effects work is done well, particularly in one early instance, the specifics of which I’ll choose to keep concealed for spoilers sake.
Heir is shock cinema that minimizes the amount of shock that is actually seen on-screen. There are far less gaudy sight gags and far more narrative tension, and for that the film should be applauded. It becomes evident from the onset that these characters, particularly the father figure, have disturbed pasts in one way or another. In the case of the father, we don’t need (or get) any dialogue confirmation of this; we can see it on Nolan’s face. For that, Nolan turns in a strong performance, as the lack of dialogue is telling of his ability to still conjure up a creepy atmosphere.
Oberst plays the standard antagonistic source: abrasive, crude, easily assumed as pedophilic from shot one. He brings a cringe-inducing portrayal of such a figure (in a good way, of course), albeit his character is largely static save for one very distinct trait.
Overall, Heir uses its limited time-space to establish quick tension and ramp that tension up to the point of perfect discomfort. While the narrative is limited to some extent, and the overall “twist” could leave some dissatisfied, the film delivers a shocking short that leaves open the implication of something far more sinister beyond what is simply shown on screen.
As always, thanks for reading!
—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)
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