‘Forgive us our sins’
Heretiks is a 2017 British supernatural horror feature film directed by Paul Hyett (Howl; The Seasoning House) from a screenplay co-written with Conal Palmer, based on a story by Gregory Blair. It is produced by Marcia Do Vales and Michael Riley.
Director Paul Hyett commented: “Being a lover of classic British horror for years I’ve been wanting to give a classic period tale a modern, harder, stylish edge. Heretiks is the perfect vehicle to do this. It’s both a richly-layered medieval character piece and a wonderful chance to showcase the latest in visual effects and contemporary cinematography while being blessed with some of my favourite actors”.
The movie stars Michael Ironside (Patient Seven, Starship Troopers, Scanners), Clare Higgins (Doctor Who; Hellraiser, Hellbound), Rosie Day (Howl; The Seasoning House), Hannah Arterton, Dilan Gwyn (Dracula Untold), Ciarán McMenamin (Demons TV series), Sian Breckin, Katie Sheridan, Ryan Oliva (Ghost Stories; Howl; The Seasoning House), Petra Bryant, Grahame Fox, Jill Buchanan, Carl Wharton, Sarah Malin, and Ania Marson, Ayvianna Snow.
Early in the seventeenth century, a young woman, Persephone, is falsely accused, arrested and put on trial for her life. Her fate seems sealed but for the timely intervention of a stranger, the mysterious Reverend Mother, who offers Persephone not just sanctuary, but hope.
For the Reverend Mother is the self-appointed leader of a small religious retreat, a secluded Priory, where she and her fellow Sisters can devote their lives to the Lord and seek atonement for their pasts. However, upon her arrival, Persephone is plagued with terrifying visions and soon realises that it’s not Salvation that awaits her, but a battle for her very soul itself…
Screen Daily has reported that: Paris-based sales company WTFilms has acquired international rights for UK director Paul Hyett’s supernatural horror picture Heretiks ahead of the American Film Market later this month (Oct 31-Nov 7).”
“There’s a final confrontation that attempts to wrap up the mystery, but given what happens isn’t drawn from clues in the proceeding eighty minutes it’s an entirely unedifying way to end things. This lack of coherence about what and whose fundamental problem is at the heart of Heretiks makes it drag. It leans too heavily on the atmosphere of the Priory and the period at the cost of drama and narrative.” Stuart Wright, Britflicks
“Director Paul Hyett gets good use out of his gloomy gothic locations, and some good performances from Clare Higgins and Michael Ironside, who pops up as a witch finder at the start. Costume design and some dark photography does mean you have trouble telling one nun from another, which gets especially confusing when they start coming back from the dead.” John Llewellyn Probert, House of Mortal Cinema
“Only Christopher Smith’s Black Death has really ventured into these waters recently, which gives Heretiks a relatively fresh feel, though it goes for a blasted heath look, dingy interiors and authentically scratchy-looking costumes rather than prettified countryside, lush art direction and flimsy nighties. Its crudeness around the edges extends to some of the effects and a few of the performances, but it has a gloomy, sinister, atmosphere and some moments of effective dread going for it.” The Kim Newman Web Site
“As the horrors slowly reveal themselves, Hyett struggles to build tension or palpable fear, and the film’s climax is overly reliant on poorly realised effects work. The performances are fine, save for Ironside’s bafflingly brief and ultimately wasteful cameo, but Heretiks simply fails to draw us in.” James Marsh, Screen Anarchy