Heartstopper (2006)

So, there’s this guy, right? He rips out peoples hearts, killing them, only one day this Sheriff catches him and he gets sentenced to the electric chair. Meanwhile, some chick called Sarah decides her life royally sucks and that the best way to commit suicide is to sit in the middle of the road with her back to oncoming traffic. Lo and behold, who should hit her but the Sheriff, on his way to the morgue hospital where aforementioned serial killer is to be bagged and toe-tagged. Still with me? Good. Now, if that weren’t coincidence enough, she ends up in the back of the same ambulance as the dead murderer and through some kind of unexplained magic, one of his tattoo’s (all bad men have them, don’t you know?) leaves his body and appears on Sarah’s. When they arrive at the hospital, it would appear that the dead murderer isn’t actually dead at all and he goes back to doing what he’s best at and ripping out people’s hearts and generally being stroppy and mean-looking. Sarah has her leg put in plaster, making it all that much harder to run away from someone looking to transfer their soul into your body, which as it happens, is exactly what this guy wants to do with her. Throw in some disposable hospital staff to serve as serial killer fodder, a torrential rainstorm and an annoying stereotype of a teenage boy as the male lead and you’ve got yourself a fine horror film. Except that it sucks. Hard.

I’ll pretty much give anything starring Robert Englund a whirl, but when the only worthwhile star this flick has buys the farm within the first half an hour, that’s when you know you’re in for a pretty shoddy contribution to the world of celluloid. He’s criminally under-used, and I, for one, much prefer him when he’s playing the bad guy so when I learned that he was the Sheriff I became thoroughly sceptical. Englund does, however, ham his lines up a treat but it’s still not enough to raise this above mediocre at best.

When I read the premise I became quite excited at the prospect of a decent hospital-set horror film but somehow the writers have managed to make a story about a resurrected serial murderer, completely and utterly boring. Nothing about it is remotely compelling and I found myself not giving a rats backside about any of the characters or what happened to them. I didn’t even want them to die horrible deaths, I just didn’t care about them at all. When you add a cast of truly awful actors, bad continuity, terrible special effects and a dire script, you’re left with 85 minutes of coma-inducing drivel.

There’s nothing ‘special’ about the effects either. I’m a big fan of fake blood and gore but only if it’s realistic or at the very least, fun and/or silly and unfortunately this was neither. I never thought I’d be bored watching an angry, bald, bulk of a man rip open another guys rib cage and splatter red stuff about the place but I found myself thoroughly disheartened by the entire process. Try as I might, I just can’t come up with anything positive to say about Heartstopper. Nothing about the story was ever given a valid explanation and the addition of certain plot points was eye-scrunchingly, head-shakingly, baffling. It’s like they weren’t even trying…….

I really, really wanted to like this film but I guess it proves that the old adage is true; you can’t always get what you want.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

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