I should have no interest in a movie like Heartless. It’s deep. It’s meaningful. It has spiritual—and anti-spiritual—themes. It makes you think. And it’s nearly two hours long. In fact, the first time I tried to watch it, I turned it off after about thirty minutes because it was clearly a film I couldn’t watch while doing a dozen other things. You actually have to give it all your attention. Blech. My attentions are too self-involved to work together as a single unit!
And yet…I was completely intrigued and had this feeling I needed to bring the team together. After all, from what I had already seen, shit could get scary. A sad young man named Jamie, who has a huge heart-shaped birthmark on half his face, walks the streets at night taking pictures—and witnesses this hooded gang with freaky demon faces committing a heinous crime.
As Jamie becomes obsessed with this gang, his own family is put at risk, and he goes on a crusade to expose the demons, Heartless seems like it could be one hell of an intense horror flick. I was expecting something along the lines of Midnight Meat Train. But Heartless opts not to go the traditional route.
It’s really the story of the emotional toll the birthmark takes on Jamie’s life—and the lengths to which he’ll go to rid himself of it so he can be “normal.” We at first get a bizarr-o, fantastical, supernatural twist that even flirts with humor as Jamie essentially makes a deal with the devil. But he fails to read the fine print. Actually, he’s never even given a chance.
Heartless gets dark and grisly and the title of the film takes on a variety of meanings as the truth unfolds. While some might consider the plot too out there, I thought it was a pretty straightforward paranormal concept; only the very ending could be up for personal interpretation, which isn’t exactly a bad thing.
The film perfectly blends the psychological horror aspects with the sick and awful physical horror that is introduced when Jamie is forced to live up to his end of the deal, making his story even more tragic. There’s some serious gore and a freaky and disturbing scene involving Jamie bringing home a street hustler and getting into some major mummification using a role of plastic wrap.
The what the fuckery really manages to give this thought-provoking and melancholy film a rough edge at just the right time, leading to the messed up twist near the end. If you love your horror but need to be emotionally and psychologically challenged once in a while, definitely check this one out.