DreadWorld Short Film Review: Heir (2015)

As many of our long time readers know, we don't review a lot of short films here at the DW. That doesn't mean we don't watch them, but we are nothing if not lazy, and frankly reviewing every short film we see would be a lot of work and it's the new millennium so working hard is frowned upon. But every once in a while something comes a long that literally knocks our collective dicks in the dirt. Richard Powell's short Heir is one such short film.  It's a short that has been on our radar for a while now simply because it stars two of our favorite indie horror actors, Bill Oberst Jr (The Chair) and Robert Nolan (Silent Retreat review HERE).

Gordon (Nolan) is a father who meets a similarly disturbed man (Oberst Jr) online. They make some rather heinous plans involving Gordon's young son. Once they meet it becomes clear that there is more about both men than meets the eye. Director Powell uses his short film to ask the question: "They say that anyone who abuses a child is a monster, what if they really were monsters?"

As expected Nolan and Oberst Jr. own the material. It may even be Oberst Jr's creepiest role to date. How he can pour such vileness into a character defies logic. Where he must have to go to conjure up this performance is a place most of us don't want to know exists.

While Nolan and Oberst Jr are awesome, it's Powell's script that sets the template for 13 minutes of brilliance. Often short films are snapshots of ideas that need time to breathe, begging to be stretched out to feature length. Other shorts simply try to pack a feature length worth of ideas into a truncated running time, resulting in poorly formed ideas and confusing narratives. Powell's short defies almost all of the tried and true short film stereotypes. It's clean, concise, and extremely powerful. By presenting a fully formed idea, rather than something that feels like a scene from something larger, Heir feels like a fully realized work. It doesn't feel like there should be more to this story, and frankly we don't need to see more.

Heir is nothing short of a triumph. It should be used a a master course for folks looking to make their first, or fortieth, short film. It looks great it's a compete narrative, and it's executed to perfection by two tremendous actors. You need to check out Heir if you have the chance.

That's it for me. As always, thanks for reading and "Enjoy every sandwich."


  1. Mister Joshua,

    Thank you for reviewing HEIR, and especially for the good words about Richard Powell's script. It is what made me want to be a part of this film and I feel lucky that he asked me to do it. My hope and prayer is that thinking-man's (and woman's) horror like HEIR will once again become dominant in the genre.

    with appreciation,

    Bill Oberst Jr.

    1. Mr. Oberst Jr.,
      Thank you for your kind words and keep up the good work!

  2. This is Richard here, I wanted to thank you for your kind words about Heir. Reviews like these inspire us as a team and reinforce the idea that we have a message that is not only being heard but is being understood and appreciated and that is comforting and motivational thought.