Directed by: #GregoryHatanaka
Film review by: Brian Penn
The opening frames of Heartbeat are frankly not promising. A girl home alone is spooked by a sinister voice on her mobile. She wanders into the garden and the picture fades to black and white; a glinting cut throat razor rains down countless blows as the red stuff splashes all over. It felt like a really bad B-movie that ran before the main feature; and you instantly regretted arriving early. But it slowly improves and a well plotted story begins to emerge.
Investigative reporter Jennifer (Nicole D’Angelo) has written an expose on local company Rigby Food Distribution. It has apparently triggered a series of murders linked to the company. Detective Santoro (Chris Spinelli) has been assigned to the case, and is convinced Jennifer has an informant supplying her with leads. Meanwhile conspiracy theorist Rick (Shane Ryan) is following Jennifer. He is convinced she knows too much and her life is in danger. Just to complicate matters still further Jennifer’s ex Torsten (Scott Butler) is trailing her in search of another chance. Nobody can be trusted as the killer slowly begins to close the circle.
Director Gregory Hatanaka falls back on cinematic clichés that haven’t worn particularly well over the years. The freeze frame followed by an extreme close-up drags the film into comic strip territory. Voice overs featuring the whispering assailant seemed to magnify the issue. Only the victims could see their attacker, which was overly predictable and crying out for a more novel approach. There was also a generous helping of ham served by some members of the cast. In spite of these obvious flaws the film is saved by two key ingredients; a gently winding plot that keeps the viewer engaged, and the photogenic presence of Nicole D’Angelo who makes a convincing femme fatale.