Sunday, November 30, 2014

HEINOUS ACTS (Review) - BITS 2014


review by AARON ALLEN

Directed and written by Tim Hannigan

Starring: Shonna Brown, James Burns, Daniel Cristofori, Claudia Wit, Luke Gallo,
Sydney Kondruss, James McDougall, Paul Ferguson, Pat Hannigan, James Burns

On Sunday, November 30th, the indie horror anthology Heinous Acts made its world debut at The Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival. Undeniably raw and very, very rough around the edges, the trio of terror tales comprising Heinous Acts don't exactly scare up many thrills or chills. However, it's clear from this tenderfoot horror feature that writer-director Tim Hannigan has definite potential as a filmmaker.

A police file clerk sneaks the new cleaning girl into the evidence room to impress her with some of the department's most grisly and horrifying cases:


A woman who suspects that her father is cheating on her mother with a prostitute sneaks into his house and uncovers a deranged family secret in the crawlspace. 


The crew of a would-be reality show gets more than they bargain for when they venture out into the forest to investigate the rural legend of Weird Willie, a deranged murderer believed to live in the woods ever since butchering and eating his family.


After an accident that claimed the life of his wife and baby, a man struggles with amnesia and a haunting supernatural presence that forces him to confront his true self. 

Heinous Acts has a lot of problems, none of which are uncommon in independent low-budget features. It suffers from sound problems, wooden acting, terrible music, predictable plot-lines, weak visuals, and unconvincing special effects owing to a lack of resources. It's also not terribly scary. All that being said, I didn't leave the BITS premiere of Heinous Acts dwelling on the negatives. For all its flaws, Heinous Acts also shows a tremendous amount of talent and wit on the part of writer-director Tim Hannigan.

The script of Heinous Acts has some really great ideas. Each of the segments is unique and either surprisingly funny or intriguing. I was not expecting this anthology to have so many great lines and story premises. The actors aren't always up to the challenge, but it's really apparent that the script for Heinous Acts knows exactly what it's doing. The "Rural Myths" segment, in particular, is both creepy and extremely fun "The Baby Monitor," although dragged down by some serious melodrama, also verges on the truly creepy. You really have to admire a filmmaker like Hannigan for tackling such an ambitious project and, despite its technical follies, still rising above it all as an emerging writer-director to keep your eye on. If Heinous Acts is Hannigan's first big film, then I fully expect we'll be seeing much bigger and better things from him down the road.

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