Heartbeat (2020) A Review

A crime thriller that comes off a lot more like a low budget horror movie.  A good premise, but not so well executed.

Certificate: TBD

Director: Gregory Hatanaka

Screenwriter: Nicole D’Angelo, Gregory Hatanaka, Chris Spinelli

Starring: Nicole D’Angelo, Chris Spinelli, Shane Ryan

Genre: Thriller

Runtime: 73 Minutes

Rating: 1.5 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

I was provided with a digital screener in exchange for an honest review


The plotline here is a little hard to find, but I will do my best.   A journalist finds herself involved in a murder plot, when people linked to an article she published start to be murdered.  Despite constant warnings from an overfriendly photographer, she refuses to acknowledge her involvement, until the killer strikes a little too close to home.

For starters, I think calling this film a thriller is a little bit ambitious.  If anything, it comes a across as a really low budget horror movie more that a thriller.  A thriller would imply that there was some kind of tense atmosphere, and some nail-biting situations.  We get neither of those here.  We bare get to know any of the characters before they are killed, so there is no tension, or emotional connection, so it’s not really heart-breaking when something bad happens to them.  The actual ‘Thriller’ narrative, involving some shady business that Jennifer wrote about, is never explained, or expanded on, in fact, it’s barely discussed in any detail at all.  So, trying to find any real story progression throughout this film is hard.

There was definitely potential in the story.  Had the focus of the story been on Jennifer, uncovering why these people were dying?  And what connection it had too her article, it would have flowed a lot better and made a whole lot more sense.  I liked the idea of her uncovering the corrupt corporation, or whatever it was she was supposed to have done.  But there just wasn’t a big enough focus on it.

There were some definite production issues here as well.  St times the editing was a little choppy and definitely not as tight and polished as it could have been.  There were some really impactful shots, the cinematography during the final struggle on the stairs was really great.  It was a shame that the sound effects and music were so loud that you couldn’t really hear what was being said, even though it was meant to be the grand reveal of the entire feature.  The reveal of the killer as well seemed a little underwhelming.  By that point it was pretty obvious who it was, but there could have been a better moment to reveal it.

The acting was sub-par throughout and, similar to sacrilege, which I saw earlier in the year, seems better suited to a straight to DVD release.  They didn’t exactly have the best script to work with, but as two of the writers actually starred in the film, you would have thought they would have given better attention to the lines that they themselves were going to have to say later on.

If the premise is something that still interests you, ‘Heartbeat’ is out on digital platforms now to rent or buy.

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