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Home Entertainment: ‘The Heiress’ digital review

Out on digital next week.

Claire (Candis Nergaard) and Anna (Jayne Wisener) have recently lost their beloved grandmother. Claire is really struggling to process the news, and at the same time as grieving, she is learning to live with a new long-term affliction. The strained atmosphere in the house that the sisters share becomes even more intense when Claire begins to be plagued by bad dreams. These dreams start to seep into Claire’s waking hours and she soon becomes adamant that there is something else sharing the house with them. This something has long connections with their family and nefarious plans for both women.   

The Heiress delves deep into issues around familial bonds, obligation, and the drive for independence. Having once been really close, the two women have drifted apart in light of the decline of Claire’s health. Whereas she used to be the life of the party, Claire is now practically living life as a recluse, and Anna is struggling to look after a patient that doesn’t want to admit they need help. These are very real situations that many people deal with on a day-to-day basis. This realism helps ground the story into our world, making it that much more unsettling when the supernatural elements begin to encircle the women. That this could happen to two regular people is unsettling and helps form a bond between protagonists and viewer. 

With much of the horror elements kept in check until the final third, it is the performances of both Candis Nergaard as Claire, and Jayne Wisener as Anna, that really hold The Heiress together. Each gives a strong performance as they delve into some dark emotional territory to convey their on-screen personas. Nergaard is exceptional as Claire, managing to play and balance her complexities wonderfully. Rather than being purely one-note and terrified for the duration, Nergaard instills a quiet sense of bravery and courage into Claire; she’s a tough cookie whose resilience shines through. At the same time, Nergaard presents Claire as tired and worn-out, and most impressively, a shell of her former self. We never get to interact with her former ‘larger than life’ self, and yet Nergaard signposts it in such a way that we feel that we have. 

Wisener’s Anna, on the surface at least, appears to be the more simplistic family member. She just wants to have an easy life, have fun and spend time with her boyfriend. She also loves Claire dearly and wants to help however she can. The strain that Anna faces as Claire pushes back on the assistance is where Wisener really gets to demonstrate her range. Her feelings are those that many who have found themselves in the position of carer can relate too and Wisener offers a respectfully realistic portrayal. 

Setting has always been important to genre films and The Heiress offers a new spin on convention. Over the years, we’ve become accustomed to a certain type of aesthetic to our ‘haunted’ houses. The houses on film that we typically see tend to be either an old, preferably dilapidated, country estate, or a remote cottage hidden amongst the trees. In The Heiress, Chris Bell presents us with a rather ordinary looking property. It’s a nondescript house in the middle of a cul-de-sac, one that looks completely normal from the street, but is hiding a dark secret on the inside. The change-up in setting is a neat subversion from genre norms and helps generate some real moments of fright as unnatural things begin to occur in a very natural setting. 

A well-structured and cannily told tale, The Heiress presents a thoroughly modern twist of the typical haunted house story. One that is backed up by two strong female performances and has the unique ability to add horror to, what could otherwise be, a kitchen sink drama. 

The Heiress is available to download and rent in the UK from Monday 15 March 2021 on all major digital platforms. 

The Heiress

Kat Hughes

The Heiress


A kitchen sink drama, heavily filtered through the horror genre, The Heiress is a thoroughly modern twist on the typical haunted house story.


Kat Hughes is a UK born film critic and interviewer who has a passion for horror films. An editor for THN, Kat is also a Rotten Tomatoes Approved Critic. She has bylines with Ghouls Magazine, Arrow Video, Film Stories, Certified Forgotten and FILMHOUNDS and has had essays published in home entertainment releases by Vinegar Syndrome and Second Sight. When not writing about horror, Kat hosts micro podcast Movies with Mummy along with her five-year-old daughter.


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