Review by Sean Boelman
Every once in a while, there is a film that is so bad that one can’t help but revel in the absurdity of what they have just seen. Writer-director Spencer T. Folmar’s didactic action-drama Shooting Heroin falls into that category as one of the most hopelessly misguided movies to have gotten the green light in quite a while.
The film follows a group of small-town residents grappling with the burden of grief from loved ones who lost their lives to drugs as they begin to use violent methods to combat the heroin crisis. Although it is obvious that Folmar is trying to communicate the urgency of the heroin epidemic, particularly as it relates to youth in America today, it seems in poor taste to bring back the idea of the “war on drugs” when society is dealing with more pressing issues involving violence.
Folmar’s movie is a tonal mess all-around, and as a result, it’s hard to take the film seriously. (The title makes it even harder to approach the movie with a straight face because of its absolutely horrible pun.) Portions of the film want to be an earnest character study about the human impact of drug addiction, and then there is an ATV chase scene thrown in, seemingly in an attempt to keep the audience’s attention.
It wasn’t surprising to learn that Folmar has done most of his work to this point in inspirational religious-themed movies. While this isn’t the type of wholesome, family-friendly entertainment that the genre usually offers, it shares many of the overly sentimental and preachy characteristics that are notoriously problematic.
The character development in the film is also lackluster because it tries too hard to milk emotion out of the audience. There are some moments that have the potential to be hard-hitting, but for the most part, the movie doesn’t earn any emotion from the viewers. Only those who fall victim to the most manipulative of tactics will feel anything from this film.
As expected, the movie features a lot of no-name actors with a few appearances from C-list celebrities (Brian O’Halloran of Clerks fame is probably the biggest name in the cast). The thing that unifies all of the performers in the film, though, is that they consistently overact, another quality that seems to have transferred over from Folmar’s previous work.
On a technical level, the movie is about as unprofessional as one would expect. The cinematography and production design are obviously very low-budget, and distractingly so. As a whole, the film looks and feels painfully cheap, but the extent to which it looks terrible is often laughable, giving the movie an added “so-bad-it’s-good” factor.
Shooting Heroin is undeniably going to be one of the worst movies of 2020, but there’s something about it that demands to be seen, for better or worse. Connoisseurs of terrible cinema will surely want to check this one out.
Shooting Heroin hits VOD on April 3.