Heidi is one of those rare horror movies that hit me out of nowhere. My wife’s name is Heidi. A friend of hers posted a trailer for the movie on her Facebook wall randomly as a joke. I watched it. It intrigued me. I tried to learn more, but information was hard to come by. Was the trailer fake? Did it get cancelled? Thankfully not! Heidi is finally here: released on DVD and VOD this week on April 11th, 2017. Even better, you can stream it free with your Amazon Prime Membership.
If you haven’t heard of this version of Heidi yet, check out the trailer below. SPOILER WARNING: The trailer reveals a lot about this movie. If you want to go in blind, watch no further.
Heidi is the brain child of writer/director Daniel Ray. It stars a relatively unknown cast featuring Samuel Bryan, Joey Bell, Eva Falana, and Elizabeth Callahan.
The tagline tells you all you need to know:
After discovering a mysterious doll in an attic, two high school friends are increasingly plagued by a series of disturbing and unexplained events.
This is a found footage film, not unlike Cloverfield or, more famously, The Blair Witch Project. It’s also a killer doll film. If you’ve seen the Child’s Play movies or even Annabelle, you’re familiar with the concept. There are lots of killer doll movies out there and lots of found footage films out there. To my knowledge, this is the only found footage film about a killer doll. Somehow, it works.
I like found footage films. The genre is getting a little long in the tooth, but I still occasionally stumble across a hidden gem. By my estimation, Heidi is one such gem. What I like most about found footage films is that they do more with less. This film is no exception. It’s impressive what the filmmakers accomplished on such a modest budget.
The acting is serviceable. The male and female leads are convincing enough. There are some supporting characters (I’m looking at you, psychic medium lady) who aren’t so great, but you’ll have that on low budget films. The found footage thing works. It takes almost an hour for the filmmakers to insert shots of convenience for the sake of editing and drama. It’s forgivable.
Heidi clocks in at 97 minutes and honestly, it feels a little padded. There’s some chaff in here with that wheat that could be cut and it takes the protagonists a lot longer to go from 0 to 60 on this creepy doll than it would me. I spent a fair amount of time saying “Guys, why don’t you just do this?” or “Why don’t you just do that?” It’s a slow burn, but they do get there eventually and answer all of my early nitpicks with style. Watch it. You’ll see what I mean.
If you enjoy found footage horror films, odds are you’ll like Heidi. If you don’t, I don’t think it will change your mind. I enjoyed it. It’s got some creepy stuff going on and some interesting directorial choices, particularly in the final act, that keep you interested and give the film a unique style.
Daniel Ray (@DanielRayFilms) looks like a horror filmmaker to watch. His next project, Bogyphobia, has been announced on IMDb. Bogyphobia is the fear of bogeys or the bogeyman. Based on my experience with Heidi, color me intrigued.