Heir, a 13 minute movie from acclaimed short film writer and director Richard Powell, recently picked up an award at the 2016 Boston Underground Film Festival for ‘Most Effectively Offensive’ film. Now I don’t know if they created that category especially for Heir but I’d say they were bang on the money - you’d have to go quite a way to find something more morally shocking, at least in the short film market.
Gordon takes his young son Paul to meet Denis, a man with whom his father shares the same passions, who Gordon has contacted via a chat room. Once in his squalid apartment, Paul is drugged, chained up and 'enjoyed' by Denis, whose arm transforms into a gigantic tentacle as a key to his pleasure. Gordon meanwhile has been hiding a hole in his hand, which spouts a semen-like liquid. Denis encourages Gordon to embrace his inner monster. Will Gordon give in, or save his son?
It’s rare for me to watch something so short and remain open mouthed at the end of the film – I'm a seasoned movie watcher and don’t shock easily. But there’s something about the insidious nature of what you are watching which gave the same feeling as watching the devastating ending of Todd Solondz's 1998 film Happiness – only with a lot more gloop.
Performances are often called 'brave' but in this case all three - Robert Nolan as Gordon, Mateo D'Avino as Paul and especially Bill Oberst Jr as Denis - are amazing in their roles, bringing an integrity that survives the increasingly odd events on screen and defies any criticism about the literal interpretation of the 'men can be monsters' theme.
I’m still thinking about this film over 24 hours after seeing it. It’s that disturbing. Brrr.