Thursday, 5 May 2016

Heartless (2014)

Arrow’s Nordic Noir & Beyond series goes quite a bit beyond the contemporary Scandinavian crime thrillers that made it popular with this Danish-produced horror series about vampire twins infiltrating an exclusive boarding school. 

Stop! Wait! Come back! This isn’t an American show - this is Euro-horror we’re talking about here. No perfect hair and make-up, no irritating posing, no fashions no-one in their right mind would be able to afford or wear. Just neo-Nazis as prefects, lots of young ladies wearing schoolgirls’ uniforms with short skirts, and that grim, bleak washed-out atmosphere redolent of dramas like THE BRIDGE.

I’ve got your attention now, haven’t I? I bet it was mention of the photography. But what about the plot? Twins Sofie and Sebastien (Sebastien Jessen and Julie Zangenberg) are trying to uncover their past. They return to the orphanage where they were brought up and are given the bag belonging to their mother who dumped them there. A scrap of paper leads them to the Ottman Boarding School, where they enroll themselves as students in an attempt to find out more about their mother and themselves.

During their investigations, they’re hampered by the usual inconveniences - other pupils wanting a fight or a relationship, ghosts, and their constant need to replenish their own life force. Oh yes, I doubt Tobe Hooper’s film has anything to do with this, but the vampires here don’t so much drink blood as suck the essence out of their victims. Fans of Jess Franco’s FEMALE VAMPIRE should calm down right now, however, as most of the sucking here is limited to what looks like the victim’s breath. Most of.

HEARTLESS promises to be a pretty good, sexy, Euro-Horror series, and there’s plenty for fans of classic Euro-Horror to get their teeth into here. The location is perfect Euro-gothic, there are regular flashbacks to witch-burning goings on in 1666, and the characters are engaging and likeable (by no means always the case with these teen things). Add in some teasy eroticism and bouts of casual cruelty and you’ve got everything that made 1970s EuroHorror great. Expect the vapid, airbrushed, soulless American remake with all the good bits taken out soon. And make sure you watch this before it happens. 
Arrow’s double disc DVD set contains all eight episodes of HEARTLESS’s first series with no extras and no option to turn off the subtitles. 

HEARTLESS is out now on DVD from Arrow Films

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