D. Allan Johnson
D. Allan Johnson
A woman on her way to becoming a full detective, and a young theoretical physicist's lives collide when visions of a murder prompt an unwanted investigation. This is a review of the indie feature, "Flesh is Heir To." D. Allan Johnson's feature-length thriller reminded me in many ways of a flick from the '80s or early '90s, and I'll admit - I'm a big fan of movies from that period. I couldn't help but start thinking of movies such as "The First Power" or perhaps even "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" with neo-noir elements. Obviously, I wasn't expecting a hundred million dollar film, but I'm sure you get the idea. Now, "Flesh is Heir To" is definitely not going to win an Oscar, but overall it's a pretty decent movie. I even enjoyed the science fiction aspects more than I would have liked supernatural ones - but this film at times can be hard to follow, and I'll get into the reasons why below.
First and foremost, I need to write that finishing an indie feature film is tough, and credit should be given where it's due. Even more remarkable, is when a low-budget indie is actually watchable by those not "into" independent film. In this regard, "Flesh is Heir To" deserves a standing ovation. Not only is it a pretty decent flick, but it's also feature-length. Making a short film is hard - making a full-length one is really hard. And honestly? All the key components are in place—two leading ladies and a story that is a great mash-up of thriller and Sci-Fi. Mostly real-feeling characters populate Johnson's world, and honestly? It was fun to watch Charlie's character, the complete opposite of a damsel in distress, and CeCe's character, teasing us viewers with whether she's actually insane or not. The male characters work to round things out, even if they are all very cliche. But for me, where this film really earns its stars is during the final act. Those last scenes were a great time, and it was through these, this film came together. Next up, we'll go into some of the technical details of this movie so if that's not your thing, skip to the end.
Now, reader, I did enjoy this movie - it was pretty good. But now, let's talk about the things that, in my humble opinion, stopped "Flesh is Heir To" from being truly great. Mainly? Post-production. There's this thing with switching up the colors of the film that was really distracting and served no purpose. It frequently transitions to black and white, and every time, I wondered if some sort of flashback was taking place. There's also a massive amount of background music used - so much in fact, that again, I was constantly distracted. There was also a lot of stock footage that I could instantly tell was stock footage, and some very familiar Video Copilot audio tracks that, instead of thinking of the movie, got me thinking about... well... Video Copilot.
Then, you add an editing structure that felt awkward sometimes - and some very cliche characters, living out some very iffy situations. Although Charlie is portrayed excellently for this type of movie, this kill-happy cop would never be allowed to carry a gun in real life. I realized this right at the start of the film, where she pulls a gun on her partner in the precinct. We also have a theoretical physicist - who is obviously not stupid, dumbfounded when the cops don't take her story of a man murdered in her "vision" seriously. I mean, C'mon now? This is a brilliant woman wondering why the cops are looking at her like she's crazy - it just makes no sense. But it does work to keep this film interesting once you remember that "Flesh is Heir To" is not meant as an exercise in reality.
At the end of the day? Although a little confusing at times, it's never crazy enough that you don't understand what's going on, and from a pure entertainment perspective, Johnson's flick more than did the trick. If you're the type of person who only enjoys big-budget fare only, then this film probably won't be up your alley. But for those who are looking for something a little different, that aims to entertain over feeling completely real, I have no problem recommending this film—two and a half well-earned stars.