Heartstopper Review

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Plot:Two hospitalized young people discover that things can get even worse when the dilapidated institution is stranded by a severe storm and a maniac stalks the corridors butchering the patients and staff.

Cast: Meredith Henderson, Nathan Stephenson, James Binkley, Michael Cram, Robert Englund, Mark Day, Laura DeCarteret, Scott Gibson, Ted Ludzik, Lori Hallier, John Bayliss, Wayne Flemming, Celine Lepage, David Roche, Drew Carnwath.

My Thoughts:Not bad.

Review:"Heartstopper" is one of those moderately likeable films to come out of the direct to dvd horror genre. A genre where you get alot more *ugh* than *ooh*. The movie starts off with the execution of a serial killer known as "Chambers". He's being executed for commiting countless murders in a most gruesome fashion. You see...unlike other serial killers who like to cut up or dismember their victims, Chambers simply likes to pluck out their hearts and watch them die. There's also a subplot with this Chambers guy, he's sort of like an agent of satan or some other dark force, which is obvious by a plethora of moving tattoo's he has on his arm, as well as the fact that his eyes glow from time to time. Robert Englund makes a cameo in this movie as a good guy, which is something you don't see very often from the guy who's played such haneous characters as Freddy Krueger and Mayor Buckman in "2001 Maniacs". After a lengthy execution of Chambers, Sheriff Berger (Englund) and another man drive him to the local morgue, but on the way there they hit a girl named Sara Wexler, who has her own troubles to deal with..and also shares some kind of connection with Chambers. Since Berger is on his way to the local morgue which is in the local hospital, they decide to take Sara along with them to get her medical treatment. Which turns out to be a big mistake, because Chambers soon awakens, and all hell breaks loose! Leaving one question unanswered...was Sara's accident really an accident..or part of some nefarious plan concocted by Chambers?? "Heartstopper" really takes off once the film changes scenery from the jail where Chambers is executed, to the local hospital. The hospital is a really dark, and dingy place, and the raging rainstorm outside gives the movie a perfect horror film tone. While most movies take a turn for the predictable, boring, and worse when set inside a hospital for most of the experience..."Heartstopper" avoids that trap by making the villain played by James Binkley as demented and sadistic as possible. Once he awakens in the morgue, he returns to his favorite pasttime of ripping out peoples hearts left and right. This increases the films blood and gore factor early on, and also solidifies Binkley's characters as a very lethal antagonist. Also the lead actress in the movie Meredith Henderson as Sara does an excellent job of making her character interesting and likeable which keeps the movie from collapsing early. Sara is cute in some ways, yet mysterious in others. The basic makeup of her character is she has some high school issues that the film doesn't really get too deep into, but drops hints about at the beginning. She herself is similar to Chambers in some ways, in that you never know what either character is really all about, and while you have them 90% figured out...there's still that 10% that remains a mystery. Luckily..there to keep Sara on the right path, is a kid named Walter played by Nathan Stephenson. When Sara is hospitalized with a broken leg due to the car accident, Walter is brought in later on with severe stab wounds. Soon some dialogue begins between the two where they begin to open up to each other, in a few conversations which take on comedic tones eventually as Walter calls Sara out on her weird behavior at school -- and Sara questions how he got injured so badly. Eventually the two form a bond, which gets stronger as Chambers continues to eliminate the hospital staff in his quest to find Sara, and the two realize they have to escape the hospital rather than waiting for help...before they too end up dead. Another thing to like about this movie is the subplot between Sara and Chambers. The Chambers character isn't just some guy who enjoys killing for the sake of it...even though that's partially the case. He needs Sara for a specific reason, one I won't give away here. The moive does play off of your typical SCI-FI/horror film cliche just a bit, but it works in this movie due to the creepy setting and the really intense moments where Chambers is pursuing Sara throughout the hospital and comes really close to capturing her in a few instances. While "Heartstopper" does get sometimes bogged down by the repetitve behavior of it's villain, and a lack of unique deaths...the strong performances by Binkley, Stephenson, and Henderson keep the viewer from losing interest in the movie. Even during it's weaker times. "Heartstopper" isn't a terrifying horror film by any stretch of the imagination, nor is it's ending an original one...but it's a fun situation horror romp, filled with gruesome deaths, the perfect setting, and some surprisingly strong performances. All of which allow one to overlook the few things the movie doesn't get right.

Positives:Great performances by the three leads, loads of blood and gore, Robert Englund does good in his cameo as the Sheriff.

Negatives:The ending was a bit cliche, and really expected. Sometimes the killer loses focus of his ultimate goal and gets sidetracked...which conflicts with how important the script makes his ultimate goal seem to him.

Overall:An enjoyable horror film.

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