Review by: Chris Hammond
Directed by: Brea Grant Written by: Rachel Koller Croft Starring: Katey Sagal, Abby Quinn, Alexxis Lemire with Joshua Leonard and Shiloh Fernandez Executive Producers: John Ierardi, Jeremy Gold, Chris McCumber, Jason Blum Genre: Horror Thriller Run time: 97 min
Blumhouse Television and EPIX present a story about chasing stardom in the film Torn Hearts. This multigenre film takes place in the iconic Nashville Country Music scene. Two friends (and bandmates) Jordan Wilder (Abby Quinn) and Leigh Blackhouse (Alexxis Lemire) in a twist of fate get an introduction from their manager Richie Jones (Joshua Leonard) to Country music sensation Caleb Crawford (Shiloh Fernandez). After the discovery that Crawford knows the whereabouts of legendary recluse Country star Harper Dutch (Golden Globe winner Katey Sagal) the duo make a pilgrimage to her mansion in the hopes she’ll record a song with them.
While things start out with a bumpy introduction to their icon (who seems to have good intentions), the visit slowly descends into a morbid succession of mental and physical torture. Each person in this tangled web discover there may be other motives at play. The duo left with no other choice and intent to record a song go to dangerous lengths to prove their dedication to their dream of becoming Nashville’s next country music stars.
Writer Rachel Koller Croft (Betches) constructs a story that delivers on everything it sets up and does not disappoint. Director Brea Grant (Lucky, 12 Hour Shift) strikes a perfect tone of Horror/Thriller and Mystery in Torn Hearts. Their direction is perfection as scenes go from relaxing to anxiety-riddled in a matter of seconds.
Both Abby Quinn (I’m Thinking of Ending Things, After the Wedding), and Alexxis Lemire (The Half of It, Truth or Dare) shine on-screen and are engaging in their roles as friends. The fact that the story is female-driven and isn’t another cookie-cutter paint-by-numbers plot also is a big plus for the film.
Things really get intense when Katey Sagal (“Sons of Anarchy,” “Married with Children”) joins the mixture as Harper Dutch. Sagal is a seasoned professional when it comes to acting, but also is a recording artist, so this role is tailor-made for her. Sagal is terrifyingly twisted onscreen and shines on screen, the little character traits like tapping her glass with her finger do not go unnoticed. The mind games she puts Jordan and Leigh through are fierce and unrelenting.
The three many players in the story put on a tour de force and push the limits of psychological agony for all to see. Characters evolve (or devolve) throughout the film and viewers are never quite sure what wicked tasks are just around the next corner.
Joshua Leonard (Unsane, Hump Day) and Shiloh Fernandez (Red Riding Hood, Evil Dead) are also great additions to this film and are sparsely sprinkled throughout the story in the right amount. Both do everything they can with their characters and really get into the roles.
Torn Hearts has just the right amount of blood and although the body count isn’t high it is violence that is very believable. There are many twists and turns in the film and the story shows that chasing fame comes at a cost, sometimes that cost is deadly. There are a few “Easter Eggs” throughout the film for horror fans that are a great tip of the hat. Check in to the film for the superb story, acting, and directing, Torn Hearts will impress right up until the very last scene.