Heir (2015) Short Film Review

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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8 thoughts on “Heir (2015) Short Film Review”

  1. Hey Alex, thanks for your insightful review of HEIR from Fatal Pictures. I’m honoured to be in a movie with Bill Oberst Jr. and to be directed by the invisible creative mind of Richard Powell. I know of no film company that brings to the screen the standard of care and quality that he and Producer Zach Green attain. And thanks to The Butcher Shop for the amazing gore fx. I hope everyone who reads your review will have a chance to see HEIR at a festival near you soon. In the meantime, please check out their award-winning earlier film FAMILIAR on iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/familiar/id986402300 (and I’m not sure if you have reviewed this second short from Fatal Pictures yet). Thanks!


    1. Based on the comment left by Mr. Nolan earlier, I believe it is currently running the festival circuit right now and thus isn’t available on VOD yet, but Powell’s last short is on iTunes (I have not yet seen that one). Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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