Review by Sean Boelman
Actress-turned-filmmaker Brea Grant has established herself as an up-and-coming voice in the horror genre, and her newest movie Torn Hearts, is her would-be breakout from niche territory. A Blumhouse-produced horror flick set in the world of country music, there are some interesting things going on here, but Grant can’t make much out of a lackluster script.
The film follows a country music duo who seek out their idol by tracking down her residence, only to learn the hard way that sometimes you shouldn’t meet your heroes. It’s a premise that shows a lot of potential, but unfortunately, it lacks the narrative momentum to compensate for its many flaws.
Like so many horror movies these days, this suffers from pretty substantial pacing issues. The first hour offers a slow build to a final act that is entirely overwhelming. A few truly wild moments deliver on the promise that the movie makes for gory, campy fun, but for the most part, it’s rather dull and hard to get into.
The film explores the same themes of fame being a corrupting force that literally every showbiz movie has done in the past fifty years. Granted, it does so in a tongue-in-cheek, almost devilish manner, but this isn’t the type of cautionary tale that is necessary because it has been done so many times before.
One of the things that keeps the movie from working as well as it should is that the dynamic between the three central characters is off. It’s clear that something is meant to feel askew, but not to the point of feeling unrealistic, which is what ends up happening. And as a result, the motivations in the film are weak and ineffective.
Perhaps part of the issue is that it often feels like the actresses are all trying to compete against each other. Katey Segal goes big, and is the only one of the trio that works. She’s earned the right to play the larger-than-life country music diva. Abby Quinn and Alexxis Lemire play the main characters and don’t particularly shine.
The technical elements of the movie definitely leave something to be desired. The film has a mansion for its setting and it makes nothing of it. There are some gory moments, but they come mostly in the back half of the movie, and by that point, they aren’t effective enough to make much of a lingering impact.
Torn Hearts has an intriguing premise but it doesn’t live up to it by any means. Brea Grant is certainly an interesting filmmaker even if her films don’t seem to be as thoroughly developed as they should be.
Torn Hearts hits VOD on May 20.